In addition to my group work, I work with many people on an individual level. Some are coaching clients, some are Zen students, some are people I mentor. Sometimes I correspond with the people I work with and answer their questions. Recently, one of these spiritual friends wrote to me about having a hard time and feeling very down on himself for it. This post is my reply.
Not knowing is the fundamental human condition. There seems to be something holy or sacred about it. Maybe this is why so many of the faith traditions abhor idolatry; our ideas or representations of reality are not the same as reality. If we react to our stories of the way things are instead allowing ourselves to react to the way things really are, we find ourselves fighting ghosts and have planted the seeds of future violence.
Those of us who want to build better lives that also help the world tend to be suspicious of optimism. Being optimistic causes you to sit on your butt and do nothing about world problems, right? We need anger, fear and desire to motivate us, no? But what if I told you that the science shows that a 20-minute optimism exercise can actually help you be more effective in building a better life for yourself and a better world for others?
Someone emailed me a bunch of questions as an interview for publication. Questions include What do I worry about for future generations? and How do I maintain my energy as a change agent? and more. I share the answers here.
The U.S. presidential inauguration has passed. The women’s march is over. For climate, race, women’s rights and so much else, it doesn’t look good to many of us (no matter how we voted). So, now what? In this post, I talk about how to stay involved, how much effort it will take, how to deal with disappointment and frustration, and the tremendous rewards of making an effort. You can watch the video or read the summary.
I have always loved the Zen approach to Buddhism because, like the gnostic and mystical paths of all the great religions, it is not about studying the words of a teacher but about finding out for yourself. What am I? What is my place in the world? This is a teaching letter I wrote about using meditation to find your true self and life direction.
I use a tool called a “mastermind group” which helps me keep my resolution and also provides support for my alternative or unconventional visions, even when my closest friends and relatives do not. Finding a supportive group can be a big challenge for social entrepreneurs, people who try to live according to their environmental values, activists or anyone on an unconventional path. This post is about to how to set up a mastermind group of your own (or how to join one of my paid groups if you prefer).
In December, the Christmas and other seasonal myths tell us, the prophets within us are born and awakened—even if we don’t yet feel it. We may not know what future their birth within us will bring. We may not know exactly when the darkness will end. But in this time of forced darkness, at a mythological level, our spirits are reawakening. Not yet matured. Not yet fulfilled. But promised.