See the Person Behind the Eyes

Who is behind the mask? The Practice See the person behind the eyes. Why? Most of us wear a kind of mask, a persona that hides our deepest thoughts and feelings, and presents a polished, controlled face to the world. To be sure, a persona is a good thing to have. For example, meetings at work, holidays with the in-laws, or a first date are usually not the best time to spill your guts. Just because you're selective about what you reveal to the world does not mean you're insincere; phoniness is … [Read more...]

Keep Hope Not Fear Alive

This recent series of posts has used the example of Stephen Colbert's satirical "March to Keep Fear Alive" as a timely illustration of a larger point: humans evolved to be fearful -- a major feature of the brain's negativity bias that helped our ancestors pass on their genes. Consequently, as much research has shown, we're usually much more affected by negative -- by which I mean painful -- experiences than by positive ones.Besides the personal impacts of this bias in the brain, it also makes … [Read more...]

Confronting the Negativity Bias

My previous post used the example of Stephen Colbert's satirical "March to Keep Fear Alive" as a timely illustration of a larger point: humans evolved to be fearful -- since that helped keep our ancestors alive -- so we are very vulnerable to being frightened and even intimidated by threats, both real ones and "paper tigers." With this march, Colbert is obviously mocking those who play on fear, since we certainly don't need any new reminders to keep fear alive.Some Background This … [Read more...]

We Don’t Need To ‘Keep Fear Alive’

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert had dueling rallies in DC in October, 2010. Stewart's was "Rally to Restore Sanity" and Colbert's was "March to Keep Fear Alive!"Obviously, Colbert is a great satirist who was poking fun, since we sure don't need a rally to keep fear alive. Alarming messages are all around us, like the news about global warming or the "Threat Level Orange" announcements every few minutes in the airport.Some of those messages are true and worth heeding. For example, dumping … [Read more...]

Balancing Joining and Separating

There is a natural balance within us all between the desire for joining and the desire for separation, between the desire for closeness and the desire for distance.These two great themes – joining and separation – are central to human life. Almost everyone wants both of them, to varying degrees.People tend to focus a lot on the joining theme, both because relationships are about – uh – joining, and because spiritual practice of any kind is fundamentally about coming into relationship with thi … [Read more...]

Solstice : light in darkness

This is about this very moment.  This wonderful moment.  Have you noticed? This week is the solstice: yesterday, to be precise. The shortest day of the year, and the longest night. Typically, it's a time of clarity and community, introspection and renewal. 'Tis the season. Time to celebrate the light in darkness. As the Quakers remind us, "Where shalt thou seek the light if thou dost not turn within?" As the year turns, we turn with it. Such fact of life is so elemental, we often need r … [Read more...]

UNDER THE SAME SKY

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