Author David Foster Wallace spoke at the 2005 graduation ceremony for Kenyon College. His message was directed at students who were about to venture into the world as independent, functional humans but his message on thinking is important for everyone to hear even ten years later. In our current global state, perhaps it’s time to relearn how to think.
“Everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the absolute center of the universe. The realest, most vivid and important person in existence.
We rarely talk about this sort of natural basic self-centeredness because it’s so socially repulsive but it’s pretty much the same for all of us. It is our default setting, hard-wired into our boards at birth. Think about it: there is no experience you have had that you were not at the absolute center of.
The world as you experience it is there in front of YOU. Or behind YOU. To the left or right of YOU on YOUR tv or YOUR monitor and so on. Other people’s thoughts and feelings have to be communicated to you somehow but your own are so immediate, urgent, real.Continue reading →
For these last two weeks of summer, I have been in major organizing mode.
School supplies and uniforms, after-school activities, work strategy and planning, setting up speaking engagements and travel (which means coordination with my husband and mom!), cleaning closets, organizing finances, logistics galore of managing work, home, and getting my kids where they need to be from now through February!
I was laughing this morning as I read a Facebook post by my friend, Dani Modisett, author of Take My Spouse Please, about how her 2-day trip to NYC required a thesis of detailed instructions for her sitter. It’s so true! The only way for me to function sanely, while trying to work and professionally/intellectually keep growing, is to be super-organized and plan ahead.
I’ll admit my meditation practice these last two weeks has been sporadic, but when I am meditating one word seems to be popping up over and over again:Continue reading →
I believe that spiritual growth under the right conditions is as natural as breathing…and the conditions of our world are the perfect conditions for spiritual growth. The person you are right now, with all of your challenges and strengths, pain and joys, failures and victories, is exactly the perfect person for the journey ahead. And your life, exactly as it is, is offering you the exact conditions to stimulate growth.
My intention for this essay is to share with you why I believe that existence is an unending emergence of pure love, a perfect and continuous homecoming, in spite of and in a sense because of, all the tragedy, pain and the unnecessary suffering that is endured by so many of us. I would start by asserting that the degree to which we recognize that suffering is unnecessary is evidence that somewhere we already know that love is the ground of existence.
This universe was born out of love and our desire for spiritual fulfillment is an expression of that love, an extension of that love, and the fulfillment of that love. Human life is challenging. We find ourselves caught in the middle between the Reality of Love and the actuality of suffering. I feel certain that suffering is actual, but not real. Only Love is Real.
What is Love? Love is what we feel when we recognize something that is worth devoting our life to. The things we love are the things that make life worth living. They allow us to feel at home in the world and relax deeply and completely into the experience of being.Continue reading →
Dieting implies restriction, deprivation, bland, boring foods and frequently guilt, self-hatred, and regret. No one wants that and no body responds well to that. Trust me, I tried.
I tried the low-fat diet, the low-carb approach, vegetarianism, no white foods, all of it. I tried shaming and criticizing my body into losing the weight. And you know what it made me? Fatter and more resentful.
Why? Because dieting doesn’t work on a physical level nor on an emotional level.
Let’s take a two minute pause to stop and consider kindness.
If you Google “kindness” , you’ll get responses like
“the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.”
If you Google “friendly“, you’ll get all sorts of synonyms like communicative, approachable, easygoing, unreserved, benevolent. While those are words we can understand in relation to other people, they are not always things we think to extend to ourselves. Are we being a friend to ourselves before we try to be a friend to someone else? Are we showing kindness to ourselves in the same way we know other’s hope to receive?
Normally when we discuss intention, it’s about our internal directive and how we want to achieve something. Whether that is being more loving, maintaining balance in our lives, or practicing patience; it’s very easy to understand our own objectives. But what about when it comes to others?
For instance, what about the driver who cuts you off in traffic? Do you believe they’re being aggressive? Or the person who repeatedly kicks the back of your seat in a movie theater or airplane? Are they being deliberately annoying?
How we interpret another’s intention actually reveals more about ourselves than them. The stories we fabricate of what we’re observing, can be subtle but rampant. Yet this is the cognitive energy we lug around when we unconsciously follow these unexplored guesses that usually result in lashing, negative and superficial judgments. Continue reading →
Many spiritual teachers and traditions teach about the power of being present in the moment. By cultivating an egoless state, they claim that you can find great joy and happiness in life. The problem is, many teachers don’t explain how to experience egolessness outside of years of contemplative practice. Meditation is an important process of self-actualization, but doesn’t always translate into the everyday world.
While developing a deep, empathic listening skill as part of my work as a peacemaker, I suddenly experienced non-ego for about 15 seconds. It was remarkable because I felt exactly as the teachers said I would. Nothing could touch me, and I was experiencing a deep connection while completely conscious. Even more startling, I was in the process of de-escalating a very angry person.
Standing in the midst of intense conflict, I found Oneness. Since then, I have perfected teaching the skill so that anyone can learn how to do it. Here are the steps you need to take to experience this for yourself. Continue reading →
What do we do with it all? How do we navigate it all? An even bigger question- where do we look for wisdom when it comes to answering the big questions of life?
“Inspired by the idea that one of the greatest gifts one generation can give to another is the wisdom gained from experience, filmmaker and photographer Andrew Zuckerman traveled the globe to interview more than fifty of the world’s most prominent writers, artists, designers, actors, politicians, and religious and business leaders – all over the age of sixty-five. WISDOM captures their voices, physical presences, words and ideas, to provide a legacy for the generations that follow and a timeless portrait of the universalities that connect us all.”