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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Back to the Cave Again

In the Republic, Plato gives us his “allegory of the cave”. Prisoners who are chained to their spots underground see only images flickering on the wall. They have no other reality. They are shown shadows of puppets without dimensions, without substance. Our poor little creatures know nothing else of life.…

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Rediscovering a Zest for Life

This year, I set out to do at least one “microadventure” each month.  Something to break up the usual routine. Something that introduces a level of discomfort or risk and helps me see the world differently. It does not have to be big or grand, dangerous or far from home.…

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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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Beyond the Horizon

I don’t know the purpose of the sunrise. As I lie on the beach looking out over the water, I can’t say anything about indubitable truths or universal structures of knowledge. I only know to look for the foundations of meaning in the lived experience of the world. The sun…

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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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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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Mercy

Are there virtues that we forget? Personally or as a culture? Ones that simply fade like the faces on ancient Roman coins? For Aurelius, Clementia – mildness, gentleness, mercy – was one of the noble virtues. A nine-year-old girl travels all night by train with one suitcase and an orange.…

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