Posts tagged with the category Psychology and Spirituality
I Will Always Find You: The Homing of Human Connection
In Chicago, as is usual for this time of year, winter’s clutch is still a tight fist. Yet, the blue of the sky is creeping into the jewel tones. This very morning I caught with deep satisfaction my first glimpse of a flock of wild geese arrowing unerringly and urgently northward toward their home, the location of which was known clearly only...
A Self-Indulgent Lent
When did giving up something for Lent turn into something self-serving? As a child, it was drilled into me through my Catholic upbringing that Lent was about giving up something valuable to us, so that we may appreciate the sacrifices of Christ during his 40 days and nights in the desert. So we would abstain from chocolate or candy, or give our...
Optimistic Mortality, My Own Life and Oliver Sacks
Today’s The New York Times bore out some sad news, at least to me. Oliver Sacks, the neurologist and author of Awakenings and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, announced he has terminal liver cancer (Sacks, 2015). In his announcement, he followed the lead of his favorite philosopher, David Hume, in the examination of his life. Even in...
The Existentialist Explanation of Lent or, Why Catholics Don’t Wash Their Faces on Ash Wednesday
Blow the trumpet in Zion!
proclaim a fast,
call an assembly;
Gather the people,
notify the congregation;
Assemble the elders,
gather the children
and the infants at the breast;
Let the bridegroom quit his room
and the bride her chamber.
Between the porch and the altar
let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep,
And say, “Spare, O LORD...
Jesus the Existentialist, or How to Entertain Yourself through Father Ray’s Homilies
This Sunday was a typical one. I entered church with our five children, knelt down and attempted to pray while the two youngest squabbled over who sat in what place on the pew. When the Mass began, I listened to the first reading and was struck by the ending line. The reading was from Job 7:1-7. It was all about the drudgery of life and the final...
The Platinum Rule, Religion, and Psychotherapy
My wife, Angie, served on the Executive Board of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions from 2002 to 2010, the first Pagan to be appointed to a leadership position in that prestigious interfaith organization. I served as an Ambassador for the Parliament for their event held in Melbourne, Australia in 2009.
Though we certainly...
Let Us Give Thanks for Living Through Another December
The changing of the calendar year does not inspire me to celebrate.
My “new year” comes at the end of autumn, as the trees—at the height of their high def beauty—drop their leaves and turn inward, surrendering to the growing darkness with a faith and grace I rarely muster. I reflected on my year back in October; I liked...
Celebrating Christmas: Incarnation and the Gift of Empathy
In the midst of holiday busyness and stress, getting the Christmas tree, decorating the house, shopping for gifts, trying to survive the end of the year, etc., I would guess that many of us may find ourselves wondering what this is really all about. What is it all for? What exactly is it that we are celebrating?
On the one hand, if we’re...
Words That Count
Last week I wrote about my sense that these days there is a finite number of words, at least for me. What I’ve now noticed, in my growing awareness of words themselves and how they are being used and often, how many are being used, is the inefficiency with which they are being used.
Case in point. Kate Pierson of the B-52s has written and...
Finding Common Threads in Unfamiliar Places
There was a time when I was ashamed to be Chinese, when I was defensive yet embarrassed in knowing next to nothing about being "Chinese." The spell probably snapped when my mentor told me, "Jung loved China," though I did nothing to hunt for crosslinks in the bifurcated streambeds of my psyche. But falling in step with the...
Opening to Heartfulness: Gratitude and the Sacred
Last year, I was teaching a section of Existential-Humanistic Psychotherapy and discussing with my students the topic of mysticism and personal experiences of the “sacred,” which I loosely define as that which is associated with authentic perception of beauty, feelings of awe, and the dawning of wordless profound wisdom that enriches...
What's With All the Slapping?
I was trying to find a story for a friend, a Zen koan about a master slapping his student. They were walking through a field and a flock of geese rose up, and the student commented how beautiful they were. Then the master slapped him, and he experienced a moment of satori. In that moment, he said, "They were always here!"