Recent Posts in ‘BigThink’
There’s always something electric in the atmosphere when someone dares to assert spiritual convictions in a decidedly secular context. It’s almost like, “I can’t believe s/he had the courage to say that!” That’s why I was so interested when I heard that Jeff Bridges, aka “The Dude,” was going to be on The Daily Show
I just got back from leading a 9-day meditation retreat in the wild and cactus-filled desert of Arizona. And I feel exuberant, inspired, and powerfully awake to the presence of immanent and seemingly infinite potential–simply because I took a sustained break from our modern world and its unspoken cultural agreements and assumptions about what’s real
The first day of the new year always represents the potential for profound renewal—a new cycle in relationship to the passing of time, a precious moment in which many of us feel we are getting a chance to start over. And for most of us, that chance is usually connected to our highest aspirations, to
I recently published a post titled, “The World is Getting Worse (And Other Lies)” in which I shared some inspiring data and anecdotes that have helped me to embrace what I consider to be “The Good News of Progress.” What does that mean? In short, the world is getting better—not worse, as many often suggest
Like millions of other Americans over Thanksgiving weekend, I went to see Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece, Lincoln. I was mesmerized by Daniel Day-Lewis’s portrayal of the great statesman. I was also deeply moved by the thrilling depiction of the moral awakening at the film’s climax, in which the 13th Amendment for the abolition of slavery was
For those of us who are committed to creating a better world how do we respond to the evil and heinous acts of our violent past? I just got back from Germany where, being Jewish, I always find this question to be particularly relevant. I was born into a secular Jewish family fifty-seven years ago.
Many people are concerned about terrible fates that await us in the not-too-distant future. Some believe that in December 2012, the world will come to an end. Others point to the near and present dangers of climate change, overpopulation, environmental degradation, and nuclear war in the Middle East, to name just a few.
When most people think of evolution, they think of the growth and development of the exterior dimensions of reality—the biological evolution of natural species, the development of the cosmos from the Big Bang to the present, or the rapidly accelerating advancement of technology. But much less often spoken about is the evolution of our interiors—of
I’ve been thinking quite a lot lately about what spiritual development and spiritual attainment actually mean these days. What is the purpose of being on a spiritual path for the most progressive people on the planet today—those of us who have grown up in an environment of unprecedented wealth, education, and personal freedom? As a spiritual
In recent years, the term “emergence” has become popular among scientists to describe the seemingly inexplicable leaps that occur in the evolutionary process when greater complexity bursts forth from lesser complexity. For example, the material universe miraculously burst forth from primordial emptiness. Something came from nothing. That’s emergence. Approximately 3.8 billion years ago, biological life
After I finished giving a lecture at the 2009 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Melbourne, an American rabbi approached me. “I’ve been following your work for some years now,” he said, “and you’re doing something very important. You are defining a new position for spiritual aspirants, uniquely suited for the time we are living
The traditional teachings of spiritual enlightenment tell us that in order to be one with Spirit we need to shrink our egos down to the size of a pea. Those rare beings who are considered to be saints are said to be “selfless.” Higher spiritual development, whether Eastern or Western, is generally determined by
There’s a lot of talk about transparency these days. In the internet age we are letting it all hang out—whatever it is—for better and for worse. And it looks like there’s no going back. Democrats want to know about Mitt Romney’s bank accounts and tax returns, while many government agencies from all over the world
It’s a big challenge being a spiritual teacher in a secular culture. What could be more disconcerting than being a religious authority in a world where there is no consensus about whether God actually exists! In traditional cultures at least, there was some agreement as to who God was and where He lived and how
People with deep spiritual conviction—from religious fundamentalists to high Himalayan mystics—possess the greatest existential gift of all: certainty. But these days, it’s not a gift that we find it easy to appreciate. And for good reason. For the last 60 years or so, ever since the unthinkable devastation of the two great conflagrations of the
One unforgettable day in New York City, over ten years ago, I was crossing Park Avenue on my way to give a lecture when a Yellow Cab that had decided not to stop at a red light careened out of control at about forty miles an hour. It sideswiped me and my wife, shortly after
In the second decade of the 21st century, God is no longer “up there” ready to save us. Until very recently, that creative principle was something that we would ask for help from. But I believe we have reached a time in history when God, which I would describe as the energy and intelligence
My close friend, student, and colleague Carter Phipp’s new book, Evolutionaries: Unlocking the Spiritual and Cultural Potential of Science’s Greatest Idea, is being published by Harper-Perennial on June 26th. Last week in New York City he was interviewed on BigThink.com about it. Check it out!
In this clip from my interview with BigThink, I describe how narcissism has become a cultural epidemic and what we can do about it: