Archive for the 'Going Up From Egypt' Category

WHEN THE WHOLE PRAYER IS JUST TOO LONG…

February 11th, 2018

In his most recent novel—Robicheaux—James Lee Burke’S police officer protagonist, Dave Robicheaux ponders anger, serenity and the real world: How do you handle it when your anger brims over the edge of the pot? You use the shortened version of the Serenity Prayer, which is Fuck it. Like Voltaire’s Candide tending his own garden or […]

STRUGGLE AND EFFORT, YES. PAIN? NOT SO MUCH…

February 10th, 2018

WHY WALKING BUSTER IS SO GOOD FOR ME…

February 9th, 2018

DISCLAIMER: Oliver Burkeman, writing in Don’t knock Donald Trump for playing so much golf. Here’s why for The Guardian, starts out this weeks column making, what I think, are outrageously positive observation about President Donald John Trump and golf courses. I think you would do well to skip the first five sentences and begin reading […]

MEDICATING INSTEAD OF ELIMINATING…?

February 4th, 2018

I’ve been a life-long—since I was 17—practitioner of various forms of meditation and I’m convinced of the efficacy of the practice. Reading William Little’s Mindfulness courses at work? This should have us all in a rage in The Guardian, however, gave me pause. Little wrote: A couple of friends who live in Denmark came over […]

REACH TO BUILD THE BEST SOCIETY POSSIBLE

January 24th, 2018

One of the most often uttered phrases in adolescence—topped only by whatever—may be What’s the point? We humans struggle to fin meaning in a universe that doesn’t have any. Eventually we give up and just create our own meanings and move on. Today I’m thinking about how a stoic approaches the question. The Stoics argue […]

STOP WANDERING AND START WONDERING…

January 22nd, 2018

So, in Buddhist meditation, one of the first phrases you come across is monkey mind. Think of what you see when you visit the monkey house—or if you’re luck enough to live in Cleveland, monkey island—and watch the frenetic action as troops bounce from branch to branch, chattering to each other in what seems like […]

USE YOUR 1,000 PIECES OF GOLD WISELY…

January 21st, 2018

At the simplest level, we all understand that we can’t fix the world, but we can fix one part of one problem. We can save a starfish or a gallon of gas or help one person to see one patch of light. And that is enough. We ought not to beat ourselves up for not […]

SEE NO EVIL BECAUSE THERE IS NO EVIL…

January 19th, 2018

I’ve said before that evil, like cold and dark, is an absence rather than a presence. Reading Massimo Picliucci’s How To Be A Stoic, has led me to explore another possibility that evil isn’t even an absence of good, but rather an ignorance. The Stoics held that people don’t really do evil but simply have […]

DO, FAIL, NOTICE THE FAILURE, DO, FAIL, REPEAT…

January 19th, 2018

I’m still waiting for my copy of Dan Harris’ Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: A 10% Happier How-To Book to come in and Oliver Burkeman, writing this morning in Meditation: how to make yourself sit down and do the damn thing for The Guardian, has given me additional reason to look forward to reading the book. […]

UNDERSTANDING THE WAY THE WORLD WORKS…

January 10th, 2018

As Picliucci begins to erect his scaffold for being a Stoic in the 21st century, he first focuses on two ideas: understanding the nature of the world and the nature of human reasoning: The theoretical framework of Stoicism is the idea that in order to live a good (in the sense of eudaimonic) life one […]

OH COME ON, DEVOTE 60 SECONDS A DAY…

January 4th, 2018

In his interview with Rachel Martin, Dan Harris remarks: People want to do meditation especially at this time of year—the whole “new year, new you” thing. But they feel like it’s just another thing on their to-do list that is further stressing them out, which of course defeats the whole purpose. My answer to this […]

RODENTS USE TREADMILLS, YOU CAN TAKE A WALK…

January 2nd, 2018

When I was in my early teens, and later in college, I had hamsters as pets. Anyone who has had a pet rodent know the scree, scree, scree sound of the exercise wheel to nowhere. Rodents never learn how to get from nowhere to now here. Humans can learn that lesson. The skill is recognize […]

THREE EASY PIECES TIPS TO STICK RESOLUTIONS…

January 1st, 2018

‘Tis the season and all that. Because I took a one-day retreat at River’s Edge last month, I’m now on the mailing list for their newsletter, The Edge. The January issue offers three tips for not setting yourself up to fail if you made any New Year’s resolutions. Eric Zimmer, writing in 3 Keys to […]

DO YOU KNOW WHO WHAT YOU ARE…?

January 1st, 2018

I’m a great fan of Oliver Burkeman and I’ve had this particular essay languishing in my Pocket file (which I cleaned out and deleted this morning) for a considerable time. That I found this piece on New Year’s Day is fitting. Below is an excerpt, but you really should read—and reread, as I plan to […]

REALITY… WHAT AN ILLUSION…*

December 30th, 2017

My personal definition of spirituality is how we emotionally deal with our personal reality. There is Reality and there is reality. The former is what Phillip K. Dick meant when he wrote in the short story I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon: She wanted a one-sentence answer. I thought about it and finally said, “Reality […]

MY PRACTICAL SPIRITUAL EXERCISE FOR JANUARY…

December 30th, 2017

In the final chapter of his book, How To Be A Stoic, Massimo Picliucci offers 12 practical spiritual exercises. In the coming year I’m going to devote one month to each of these exercises. For January I begin with: Examine Your Impressions. “So make a practice at once of saying to every strong impression, ‘An […]

PLAINLY THERE’S A WORD FOR FIGURING OUT LIFE…

December 29th, 2017

The Greeks had a word for everything. My new word from reading Massimo Picliucci’s How To Be A Stoic is eudaemonia: well-being or happiness. Happiness ought not to be confused with fun. Eudaemonia is about purpose and direction. Picliucci dives much deeper here, but for now let’s begin with this: Eudaemonic: having the objective of […]

DON’T KILL THE SNAKE, JUST AVOID THE PATH…

December 29th, 2017

I’m reminded of a scene from W—a movie I could not watch because I lacked distance—where Vice President Dick Cheney discusses whether or not a 1 percent chance that a salad might have been poisoned was a good reason to not eat the salad as a metaphor for sacrificing millions to the possibility that there […]

LIFE, NOTHING MORE, IS THE MEANING OF LIFE…

December 27th, 2017

We begin, we end; we are born and we die. Some pass on their DNA. Some do not. What transpires between those two bookends of existence has no meaning beyond that which we choose to imbue our seconds, minutes, hours and days. Most of us suck at creating meaning. A few do not; but in […]

WHY HAVE ALL THESE INGESTION METAPHORS…?

December 27th, 2017

I’m not certain when magic pills became a thing, but they are ubiquitous in 21st century culture. Why do any kind of hard work like exercising, monitoring what and how much you eat, avoiding harmful substances like tobacco, alcohol or heroin, when you can just take a vitamin or a hit of Naloxone and keep […]

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