Grabbing hold of life

grab ahold of life

Watching this video I heard Māra creeping up in the form of voices of naysayers, and looking around the world today their is no shortage of such people: the young and nihilistic, the old and crotchety, the middle-aged beer-bellied bad-mustached cop with the pepper spray. Such people are inescapable as we go through life. Anything of value that you do will be met by people who don't want you to do it. Whether it's due to their own insecurities, or ideologies, or anything else, simply remember: i … [Read more...]

Buddhism and Mental Illness

clifton suspension bridge bristol 2013

President Obama has declared May "Mental Health Awareness Month." At the announcement the President said (thanks to Adrian Warnock for posting this): “Today, tens of millions of Americans are living with the burden of a mental health problem. They shoulder conditions like depression and anxiety, post-traumatic stress and bipolar disorder — debilitating illnesses that can strain every part of a person’s life. And even though help is out there, less than half of children and adults with diagn … [Read more...]

Meditation and this Human Body: Two Recent TED Talks

These are two talks that are really about 'everyone' - everyone social that is. Everyone that has to deal with people, and stress, and stuff, and managing all of that people-stress-stuff on a daily basis. The first, with some remarks below the video, is: Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you areNot only do you get the great (funny, memorable) examples - such as President Obama shaking a British police officer's hand and then (then Prime Minister) Gordon Brown going up to the officer, … [Read more...]

3 Reasons to Welcome the ‘tt’ in St. Patty’s Day


I'm not sure what it is. Perhaps something in my Irish-English-Polish(Jewish)-Scottish heritage and dirt-road, blue sky, tumble-weed, Montana upbringing, but I just don't understand a lot of .... how should I put it? Conservatism? Orthodox traditionalism?Now, today is St. Patrick's Day.This has always been a fun holiday for my family as yesterday (March 16th) is the birthday of my father, Patrick James Whitaker (where I get my Irish/English). Montana has a pretty large Irish population, … [Read more...]

Buddha’s Middle Way on Technology


On Monday I had a wonderful evening at an event bringing academia and the community together, featuring none other than my wonderful girlfriend, Ms. Emily Rhodes (and four other speakers). The event was called "Whose street is it, anyway?" and it brought together the Bristol Faculty of Arts and the People's Republic of Stokes Croft (PRSC, check out their blog), a local neighborhood group fighting to bring control of their area back to the people.In terms of starting a much needed c … [Read more...]

Two Videos you MUST see today

Video - earth

From the video: We are traversing a terrain, which we as a species and as a planet overall have not seen before. We are facing an ecological crisis that has the capacity to tremendously alter life on earth.Today we have not only an ecological crisis. We also have a kind of story crisis. That is to say there is something very wrong with how we understand who we are and our relationship with the earth. Where are you? Where is your mind? Here: Or here: And maybe this will help:See … [Read more...]

Better than Zizek: a critique of Contemporary Spirituality (and many Buddhists) worth investigating

I just finished listening to a podcast interview of my friend David Webster on CBC (Canadian Broadcasting). Knowing Dave, I know that he is a bit (at least) of an admirer of the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek. My own view of Žižek is not a secret. One of my most popular blog posts last year was a discussion of Žižek, who had recently given a lecture that was, in title at least, about Western Buddhism: "Zizek waxes on about Zionism, Sex, Gangnam Style, Justin Bieber, the Pope, and Buddhism … [Read more...]

The philosopher Kant, a Buddhist Saint, and Happiness


In my regular bits of avoidance and procrastination tonight (I have a lecture tomorrow that I desperately do not want to write or give), I came across an old blog post that brought a smile to my face.  Below is a slightly revised edition, complete with comments. You can see the original from 2007 here.I came across a fairly obscure essay by Kant today, entitled: “You must Be Well Occupied To Be Happy.” It is extracted from his Lectures on Ethics, a book of notes of Kant’s students published a … [Read more...]