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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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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Seeking to Make Things Difficult

With every advance, every step forward, we also walk from something.  Technological innovations really have brought us so much that makes our lives measurably better in so many ways. But unless we remain vigilant and active, we also lose something; something essential about being human. When faced the earlier inconveniences…

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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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Waking Up Our Souls

Early in the novel Zorba the Greek, the narrator is approached by a “loose nit” stranger with an “eager gaze, his eyes, ironical and full of fire.” Within seconds of their meeting, Zorba asks the narrator to take him with him on his journey. When the narrator asks “Why”, Zorba…

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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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Be Ordinary

In his poem “Born Yesterday”, Phillip Larkin looks at a new born baby and wishes, not that she is beautiful or smart or talented, but that she is ordinary. There is great value in our just being. There is something essential about remaining attentive to those around us, whatever the…

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