Discovering Meaning (3 Exercises)

Joy, happiness, Awe, Sean Doyle, Positive psychology

The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche famously said that “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” Research and experience have shown this to be true. Having a sense of meaning makes us more resilient and persistent, and less dissuaded by setbacks. It helps us find creative…

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Mud and Dreams (Coming Soon!)

My first full book is coming this May 2018. Mud and Dreams is a series of essays on the poetry and science of living. A work of “motivational poetics” the book speaks directly to the human concerns at the center of our lives.  Mud and Dreams makes poetry, philosophy and…

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Changing the Narrative (Part 1)

The stories we tell ourselves matter. They make a difference in how we think about who we are and the way we structure our lives. They affect the paths we blaze and those we follow. Our stories inform every sigh and every tear, keep us afloat, and connect us to…

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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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