Spirituality in the News
(CNN)For the past two months, I have been a changed man. It is hard to fully describe, except to say my mood is mostly sunny and more patient than usual.
In the past, my family and friends would've typically described me as pleasant but hurried. My baseline restlessness and edginess, however, have now nearly vanished.
Without difficulty, I have sustained attention when my young children spend time with me. Instead of constant surveillance of my phone, there is an ability to quickly hyper-focus on the task is at hand and a corresponding joy of living in a distraction-less world.
This change seems to have started the end of last year, after I spent a morning meditating with the Dalai Lama.
Here’s a New Year’s challenge for the mind: Make this the year that you quiet all those negative thoughts swirling around your brain.
Eric Barker, Barking Up The Wrong Tree
You get all kinds of happiness advice on the internet from people who don't know what they're talking about. Don't trust them.
Actually, don't trust me either. Trust neuroscientists. They study that gray blob in your head all day and have learned a lot about what truly will make you happy.
UCLA neuroscience researcher Alex Korb has some insights that can create an upward spiral of happiness in your life.
Here's what you and I can learn from the people who really have answers:
1. The most important question to ask when you feel down
This post first appeared on BillMoyers.com.
The world continues to weep daily for the senseless violence that so devastates families and communities. Today it is San Bernardino, California. Yesterday it was Cameroon, and Jerusalem, before that Baghdad, Beirut, Bethlehem, Nigeria, Tunisia, and Paris. And tomorrow…? The daily violence reflected in these and so many more incidents is deeply shocking and stirs up powerful feelings of fear, anger, outrage and sadness. The questions swirl, and consume our thoughts. Why? Who? How? It is natural to feel this way. Violence is horrible and the purpose of violence is to horrify and paralyze.
Is saying publicly that you are a Spiritual person one of the last great social taboos?
Why, with so many striving to deliver greater social justice, is being actively and purposefully spiritual still such a heresy?
Over half of Canadian teenagers openly say they have spiritual needs, whilst only 15% of Americans say that they are neither spiritual nor religious. Over 75% of Brits claim that they are aware of a spiritual dimension to experience (a rise of 27% in 13 years); about 70% sit within a grey area between being religious and anti-religious. So why do so many of us hide away our spiritual contemplations, intuitions and convictions?
With water, sun and soil, a tiny seed can grow into a majestic tree. The seed's power to transform so dramatically seems almost mythic in proportion, which is perhaps why seeds appear in many religious parables.
Today we've lost our connection to the life-giving properties of seeds as a by-product of our highly industrialized and "materialistic" culture, according to author and Sufi mystic Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee.
"We have not only lost the sacred dimension of the seeds but a lived connection to the sacred Earth," Vaughan-Lee told The Huffington Post.
Let me say something I’m not supposed to say: I’m embarrassed by my new book.
This is true even though it’s a true labor of love, written and rewritten and rewritten again over a 10-year period; even though it’s also, in part, a chronicle of the loss of my mother; and even though various fantastic people have said various wonderful things about it.
Because my new book, like two of my previous ones, will be shelved with “spirituality.” And we all know serious people don’t do spirituality.