Spirituality

Turn on the Stars

I was steeped in writer’s block, boosting my self-esteem by rescuing bears in Candy Crush, when my daughter phoned with the news. You’ve probably heard by now, but I just have to write it down myself: Scientists have discovered that when dung beetles roll their balls of animal feces at night, they navigate by looking at the Milky Way!

I know what you’re thinking: Thank God some intrepid scientists asked themselves, as we all do, “How the hell do dung beetles navigate at night?” And thank God these scientists did not remain on the couch playing Candy Crush! No, they [...]

Why It’s Okay to Change Up Family Traditions

This article was first published in Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper

Holiday traditions have always made my heart beat a little faster—not with excitement, but with stress. Growing up as the seventh of eight children, I spent every December struggling to find gifts and make treats for everyone in the family. Things got easier when I started my own small, nuclear family. But our numbers are growing, and in recent years I’d begun to feel a touch of the old anxiety. Still, I was a bit shocked when someone suggested that we switch up our traditions by assigning each [...]

Light Side Rising

So there’s this board game called Dark Side Rising. It’s based on Star Wars and features Darth Vader, so I guess you could say it’s pure fantasy. 

But every morning, when I get up and read the headlines, I smack right into things that aren’t fantasy: continuing racism, sexism, xenophobia, conspiracy theories, violent pointless arguments, the Taliban yanking Afghanistan backward into the Dark Ages. 

The dark side rising.

Sometimes, I just go right back to bed. 

But then, after lying in defeat for a while, I remember something. We live in a dualistic reality. For every up, there is a down. For every [...]

How to Know You’re on the Right Spiritual Path

Photo: In Truth by LunaMom58 | CC BY 2.0

My religion is called Do-Be-Do-Be Do, pronounced “doo-bee-doo-bee doh.” The final “doh” (Japanese for “the Way”) is more properly written like this: Do-Be-Do-Be means “the Way of Do-Be-Do-Be.” According to the religion’s only member—me—it aims to balance the active “doing” of Western religions with the serene “being” of Eastern religions.

This name is meant to sound silly, because along with Reinhold Niebuhr, I believe that “laughter is the beginning of prayer.” But when it comes to religion, I can be as serious as typhoid. Born into an intensely religious tradition I would [...]

When You Trust Yourself, You Live Your Best Life

I’ll tell you this for free: Not all resolutions are created equal. As a new year begins, many of us write lists of noble promises—and break them before the ink dries. Why do most resolutions have so little sticking power? Because they’re what I call “outside-in” goals. They aren’t based on our real, intrinsic desires. We set them because we’ve learned from the culture around us—family culture, religious culture, media culture—that they are Good Things To Do.

By contrast, the kind of new year’s resolution that genuinely improve our lives come from the inside: our hearts, our guts, our cores. [...]

Are you ready to live like Jumping Mouse?

One of my favorite stories EVER comes from many Native American traditions, and is estimated to be at least 10,000 years old. I read it when I was 15, in the book

Seven Arrows, by Hyemeyohsts Storm. I didn’t know why I began to sob as I read this apparently simple tale of a mouse who wants to find his way to the sacred lake that is the source of all things. I didn’t know until decades later that the story is a guide to awakening, that it metaphorically traces every step on the way to enlightenment.

The story is called [...]

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