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Christmas Behavior Modification

St. Nick came and went.  He's a jolly old guy, for sure.  But also a bit of a control freak.  What's the deal with keeping the list of who's naughty and who's nice?  The spirit of the season, if I understand it correctly, is about giving.  A gift for good behavior is not a gift, but a token of behavior modification.  A true gift is unconditional.  Take a tip from Grandfather Frost, the other jolly...
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Review of “I Am Here Now”

About two thousand years ago, Marcus Aurelius, a Roman emperor and a Stoic thinker, implored himself in his own journal: "Throw away your books: stop letting yourself be distracted ... Discard your thirst for books ... Remember how long you've been putting this off, how many extensions (of life) the gods gave you, and you didn't use them ... "

What was he imploring himself to do?  Why was he begging himself to throw away his...
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Entering What Is

When you maintain a memory of "what was" while processing in parallel "what is," you end up with a sense of self.

When you let go of "what was" and just stay with "what is," the sense of separate self disappears.

It is not that difficult to experience this kind of ego-death for a split second.

When this way of being/non-being goes on autopilot, the subjective distinction between you and the Universe at large...
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12 Forests of Braj

Braj is an ancient pilgrimage tradition in India which involves a circular path through 12 forests.  This path goes nowhere.  "Walking the goal-less circuit of Braj, hearing and living the stories of Krishna's play, has a particular effect: it opens up a new perspective, namely, that all life is lila, or purposeless play."

In trying to understand the tradition of Braj, it is best to ask not "Who is Krishna?" but "What is Krishna?"  Krishna is...
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360 of Compassion

Touch a Screen or Touch Reality

Perhaps, I am being overly dramatic but it seems to me that we – as a species – have entered the age when we are far more likely to forget our kids in a hot car than forget our smart-phones.

Indeed, we have become inseparable from our “devices.” We have become a species of absent-minded, techno-distracted zombies. We no longer notice each other. We maladaptivly jaywalk with our minds buried in our so-called smart-phones. We can’t...
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360 of Compassion

Cosmos as a Pet

Petting a dog is said to have powerful health benefits – a release of oxytocin (a feel-good bonding hormone), a lowering of heart rate and blood pressure. How marvelous!

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That is the power of touch! And the logic of it!

Oxytocin – the feel-good bonding hormone – is activated by touch.

Makes sense!

To unite, to bond (two surfaces), you have to bring them together until they touch.

And when the two biological membranes – two living skins – realize...
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Ordinary Perfection

Total Acceptance

When I look at the nameless reality of Whatever Currently Is (right now) through the lens of mindfulness and presence, everything relaxes me, everything feels "ok" and "normal" and "simply such" - even illness and death and violence and war You name it! Everything - the entire Ordinary Perfection of it all.

In 1710 German polymath Gottfried Leibniz says: we live "in the best of all possible worlds."  Exactly. And you don't have to be...
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Elements of Intimacy

[adapted from Four Legs: Building a Radically Humanistic Relationship of Love, P. Somov]

“What is love?” is one of these perennial questions that thinkers have been musing over since day immemorial. It’s a kind of question only fools dare to answer. I am one of these fools. So, here’s my attempt to define what love is. Love is an interplay of Physical Intimacy and Emotional Intimacy.

Love = Physical Intimacy + Emotional Intimacy

The interplay...
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Lessons of Resilience from Frank Lloyd Wright

[excerpt from Prairie Mind (Somov, 2017)]

Life reinvents itself, non-stop. The cosmic process continues on, without pause. Wright knew of this resilience of nature.

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The Celtic classic, Book of Taliesin, tells a story of a bard, named Taliesin, who must have been a charming guy with a “shining brow” (that’s what “taliesin” means in Welsh).

The Book of...
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