Date Archives August 2022

Survival of the Friendliest

Evolutionary anthropologist Dr. Brian Hare and Primatologist Dr. Vanessa Woods have spent years studying how animals think. Lately, they have explored why some primates form social groups around dominance and aggression while others intuitively form communities based on cooperation and mutuality. To do this, they studied Chimpanzees and Bonobo monkeys. These two species are nearly identical in genetics and lineage. In fact, humans share 99% of our DNA with them. They are more like us (or we are like them) than gorillas. But these two species have radically different social instincts. Their… Read More

We Need Both

We use the term “patriarchy” to hold the blame for much of what is hurtful and harmful in our culture today. We (men and women) “rail against the patriarchy” that privileges and protects male power at the expense of women, children, and creation. Especially in light of the Dobbs Supreme Court decision in the US, we are sensitive to how women are denied autonomy over their bodies. But it’s been a long road of injustice on many fronts that got us here.  In wrestling with how we find our way… Read More

Standing On A Ledge

Retired NYPD Detective James Shanahan recently told me the story of a young man in a desperate situation. He was a former Navy officer and had been out of the service for a few years. He was living with his mother and suffering from PTSD. None of the medical or psychological interventions seemed to make a difference. On this day, Detective Shanahan and this young man’s lives intersected because he decided his life wasn’t worth living. The young former Navy officer had climbed onto the ledge of a building and… Read More

Wipe the Mirror

In Zen Buddhism, teachers instruct their students to practice “wiping the mirror” of their minds and hearts. By this, they mean to intentionally clear away anything distorting the student’s ability to see life in its truest essence. The student should wipe the mirror of distorting thoughts, stories they tell themselves that may not be true, and biases they hold that create blind spots.  The Apostle Paul taught something similar when he said, “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face…. Read More

Pay Attention to Our Attention

Over the past few years, we have developed a public narrative that the world is scarier than ever, we are hopelessly divided into political factions, we are powerless to create institutional change, and we’re on a perilous course to global destruction via climate change.  I may be overstating the case in your mind, but I wonder if some of what I’ve said resonates.  That narrative, which generates constant anxiety within us, is the direct result of an “attention economy.” Almost all forms of our current global media make their money… Read More

Wisdom From An Old Master

In his Book of Awakening, Mark Nepo tells this story:  Once an unhappy young apprentice came to an old master and told the master that he was deeply sad and asked for a solution.  The old master instructed the unhappy young apprentice to put a handful of salt in a glass of water and then to drink it.  Then he asked “How does it taste?”  “Terrible!” spat the young apprentice.  The master nodded and asked the young apprentice to take another handful of salt and put it in the lake. The… Read More