Humanity and Saving a Nation

The poet Czeslaw Milosz once asked, ‘What is poetry which does not save/Nations or people?”   In the 1989 work Zinky Boys, Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich, shows us what is at stake. Alexievich, a Belarusian literary journalist, won the 2015 Nobel for her collections of haunting interviews. In Voices from…

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Is This Forgiveness?

Jack Kornfield tells stories of forgiveness, heroic and true. Of Buddhist nuns brutally imprisoned for saying their prayers, afraid only that they would lose their compassion for their captors. Or of the mother who welcomed the killer of her child into her home, and nurtured him and made him kind. They…

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Sitting in the Rain

Every two weeks I lead a pre-dawn meditation group in public rose garden. This morning, waking up at 5:15 to rain and a cold front that had crept in, I didn’t expect anyone else to join me. But I thought I would head over anyway. There is a pavilion under…

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Enlightenment and Connection

Many of you know I host various philosophy and well-being discussions groups each month throughout the Raleigh-Durham area.  You can find us here. At our lunch meeting last week, we had a wide-ranging and robust discussion on enlightenment, presence, and the relationship between sacred experience and the connections between people.…

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A Reluctant Christian

I don’t know whether I can be called a Christian. I don’t believe in the divinity of Christ. At least, I don’t see his holiness as anything different than my own. Or different from yours. Or from the effulgent heart in each of us, even if occasionally dulled. What I…

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Communities of the Heart

One day each month, I lead a well-being discussion over lunch in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.  (Details can be found here) The talks are part philosophy, part psychology. There is a tentative spirituality that often creeps in, and is always welcomed. But at their core, the dialogues are human,…

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The Pursuit

It is so easy to get caught up in all the chasing. There are the goals and dreams and aspirations. We pursue a vision, or our aim, or any other number of respectable things.  To swing, as the poet said, “the earth a trinket at my wrist”. But after the…

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Absence and Return

For several years, I have been loosely involved with an online Buddhist community. About a year ago, I began to get more active and made some commitments to the group. I was going to meditate more. I would be more mindful in my eating. One night each week, I would…

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Presence and Immediacy

It all started with an encounter. After a morning of ‘religious enthusiasm’, Martin Buber was visited by a young man. Buber was friendly and attentive, but says he was not there fully in spirit. Later, the philosopher and theologian discovered that the young man had been wrestling with something. He…

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