Meaning, Purpose, and Civic Engagement Beyond Belief

I remember how in November 2013 my wife (and fellow Intentional Insights co-founder) and I, together with a great bunch of people, organized a spaghetti dinner fundraiser at our Unitarian Universalist church in Columbus, OH. The event was a big success, with more than 120 attendees, a music program, a raffle and silent auction. We raised over $2000 for [Read More…]

Stepping Out of the Cave: The Never-Ending Journey in Search of What is True

(cc) Jarvist Frost In the dystopian world of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, the reading of classic, literary works has been outlawed. In the quest for unending “happiness,” the citizens of this future society have forbidden reading and any activity that might result in deep, thoughtful contemplation, for it is then, in the throes of serious thought, [Read More…]


In a passage from Chapter 22 of the writings of Chuang-tse, the philosopher Lao Dan is quoted as saying “…life is just a temporary congealed thing.  Although some are long lived and some die young, how much of a difference is there really?  It’s all a matter of no more than a single instant.” Objectively, [Read More…]

The Search for Meaning

Viktor E. Frankl was a psychiatrist, who founded a school of psychotherapy based on humanity’s search for meaning. This search for meaning, he claims, “is the primary motivation in his life and not a ‘secondary rationalization’ of instinctual drives” (Frankl 2006, 99). The problem is that few of us know what motivates us, and even [Read More…]

PODCAST: SN Today #5: What is Demeanor Practice?

Episode 5: Have you ever thought about the vibe you’re putting out into the world? Demeanor practice is mindfulness of how we carry ourselves, and how we interact with others. We talk about compassion a lot, but are we projecting an impression of compassion? A large portion of our communication with others is beyond just the [Read More…]

Purpose-Driven Life and Secularism

How can you find purpose and meaning from a secular perspective? Mike meets regularly with friends and acquaintances from his neighborhood in a large building. There, he enjoys listening to presentations about big life questions: on the meaning of life, on the nature of morality, on ethical behavior, etc. He participates in study circles that [Read More…]

The Evolution of Morality

We know that we carry inside us the history of our bodies—the chemistry and bones and nervous systems that have evolved over the millennia. But we carry with us another history as well. Our morality, our capacity to harm, help, or ignore each other, began with our earliest ancestors as well. I divide this inheritance [Read More…]

Book Review: “Secular Meditation” by Rick Heller

Guest article by Michelle L. LeBlanc… If you are anything like me, I enjoy a book that sees the benefit of spiritual practice without the assumption of the supernatural intertwined, not that I am completely closed to the idea, but due to my religious background, I have learned to trust those who give more “naturalistic reasons” [Read More…]

New Year, New You

It’s a New Year. Did you make a New Year’s resolution? Some of the more popular ones include losing weight, exercising more, quitting smoking, stop drinking, or get out of debt. But, as we quickly realize, changing ourselves is hard to do. Why is that? Most people attribute change or a lack of change to [Read More…]

Celebrations, Rituals and Constructing Meaning in Life

My family emigrated from the former Soviet Union to the US when I was 10, and our cultural heritage of ritual celebrations comes from that background. The most important Soviet celebration was New Year’s Eve, a combination of Thanksgiving and Christmas rolled into one. A few hours before midnight, close family and friends gathered together. [Read More…]