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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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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Throwing Bullets on the Fire

When we first moved to the place I would come to call home, a boy, five years my senior, knocked on the door to meet his new playmate.  He introduced himself, spelled his last name, and every weekend and summer we played: Sometimes in the woods pretending we were soldiers…

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Visigoths, Happiness and Middle Age

Something curious happens when we track satisfaction over the course of our lives.  Couples meet, fall in love, get married and life could not be more wonderful.  Then they have children and satisfaction falls.  It plummets. Happiness only begins its rise once again after the little ones are hatched and…

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Naked Truths

In many ways this is the greatest period of history. Yet ours is a culture of longing. The world is of course the world, and it is filled with tragedy, hardship, pain, loss and indiscretion.  Yet life expectancy and literacy rates have been steadily rising for decades.  We are richer…

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Whatever Happened to Conner MacBride?

Peer Pressure, Friendship, Manliness

Thoughts of peer pressure bring a parent’s worst fears to mind: sex; drugs; uncategorized acts of stupidity; the fact that our kids cannot be who they are when they are the most themselves. When they get home at night, there is no escape from the peacocking of peers on Instagram…

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Sisyphus and the Path to Meaning

Sisyphus-Meaning in Life

In The Myth of Sisyphus, Albert Camus retells the ancient Greek tale of the king Sisyphus who was condemned to forever push a boulder up a mountain, only to see it roll down again.  Despite an eternity of “futile labor”, in the end Camus concludes “One must imagine Sisyphus happy.” …

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