Ask Questions

What are you learning? The Practice: Ask questions. Why?My dad grew up on a ranch in North Dakota. He has a saying from his childhood - you may have heard it elsewhere - that's: "You learn more by listening than by talking."Sure, we often gain by thinking out loud, including discovering our truth by speaking it. But on the whole, listening brings lots more valuable information than talking does.Nonetheless, many people are not the greatest listeners. (You've probably noticed this … [Read more...]

Stay Right When You’re Wronged

What happens after you're mistreated? The Practice: Stay right when you're wronged. Why?It's easy to treat people well when they treat you well. The real test is when they treat you badly.Think of times you've been truly wronged, in small ways or big ones. Maybe someone stole something , turned others against you, broke an agreement, cheated on you, or spoke unfairly or abusively.When things like these happen, I feel mad, hurt, startled, wounded, sad. Naturally it arises to want … [Read more...]

Give Over To Good

What is living you? The Practice: Give over to good. Why?In every moment, you and I and everyone and everything else - from quantum foam to fleeting thoughts, intimate relationships, rainforest ecosystems, and the stars themselves - are each a kind of standing wave, like the ever-changing though persistent pattern of water rising above a boulder in a river.We are the result of multiple causes flowing through us. As Buckminster Fuller famously said, "I seem to be a verb."This fact … [Read more...]

Be Friendly

Friend or Foe? The Practice: Be friendly. Why?Friendliness is a down-to-earth approach to others that is welcoming and positive.Think about a time when someone was friendly to you - maybe drawing you into a gathering, saying hello on the sidewalk, or smiling from across the room. How did that make you feel? Probably more included, comfortable, and at ease; safer; more open and warm-hearted.When you are friendly to others, you offer them these same benefits. Plus you get rewarded yourself. … [Read more...]

Say Thanks

Say Thanks - Just One Thing

Each Thanksgiving holiday, we are reminded to be thankful. When times are tough, finding reasons to be thankful may be challenging or even seem inappropriate or impossible. This year, before we sit around the dinner table, let’s think about the myriad benefits to saying thanks, and how to truly savor the opportunity, no matter what.What do others give you? The Practice: Say thanks. Why?What do you feel when someone thanks you for something? For a comment in a meeting, a task done at h … [Read more...]

Relax, You’ve Arrived

Are we there yet? The Practice Relax, you've arrived. Why?We spend so much of our time trying to get somewhere.Part of this comes from our biological nature. To survive, animals - including us - have to be goal-directed, leaning into the future.It's certainly healthy to pursue wholesome aims, like paying the rent on time, raising children well, healing old pain, or improving education.But it's also important to see how this focus on the future - on endless striving, on … [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...]

The Brain in a Bucket

Have you ever seen a real brain?I remember the first time I saw one, in a neuropsych class: the instructor put on rubber gloves to protect against the formaldehyde preservative, popped the lid off of a lab bucket, and then pulled out a brain.It didn’t look like much, a nondescript waxy yellowish-white blob rather like a sculpted head of cauliflower. But the whole class went silent. We were looking at the real deal, ground zero for consciousness, headquarters for “me.” The person it came from … [Read more...]


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