Don’t Take it Personally

Is it about you? The Practice Don’t take it personally. Why? Here’s an updated parable from the ancient Taoist teacher, Chuang-Tzu: Imagine that you are floating in a canoe on a slow-moving river, having a Sunday picnic with a friend. Suddenly there is a loud thump on the side of the canoe, and it rolls [Read More...]

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 [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 [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 [Read More...]

We Don’t Need To ‘Keep Fear Alive’

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have dueling rallies in DC coming soon. Stewart’s is “Rally to Restore Sanity” and Colbert’s is “March to Keep Fear Alive!” Obviously, Colbert is a great satirist who is poking fun here, since we sure don’t need a rally to keep fear alive. Alarming messages are all around us, like [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. [Read more...]

You Can Feel Safer

Feeling safer is a tricky subject, with complications that can be both personal and political. [Read more...]

21 Ways To Turn Ill Will to Good Will

It’s important to get a handle on “ill will” – irritated, resentful, and angry feelings and intentions toward others. While it may seem justified in the moment, ill will harms you probably more than it harms others. In another metaphor, having ill will toward others is like throwing hot coals with bare hands: both people get burned. [Read more...]

How Did Humans Become Empathic?

Empathy is unusual in the animal kingdom. So empathy must have had some major survival benefits for it to have evolved. [Read more...]

The Wolf of Hate

I heard a story once about a Native American elder who was asked how she had become so wise, so happy, and so respected. She answered: “In my heart, there are two wolves: a wolf of love and a wolf of hate. It all depends on which one I feed each day.” [Read more...]


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