Dancing Souls

By Pir Zia Inayat-Khan

What is the origin of music? If you ask a Sufi the answer to that question they will likely respond: Music begins with the very beginning of our own souls. It begins on a day that is known by the Sufis as the Day of Alast, which, in the Quran, is described as a day when the creator called forth…

A Short History of Walking

By Jennifer Stitt

This is part of a series on solitude by Jennifer Stitt, a historian of modern American thought, culture, and politics working on her Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This piece on walking and solitude is the second of five short essays that will be published monthly. Read the first installment, “Listening to Silence, Hearing the Unspeakable” here. Six years…

Death Asks Us to Live Authentically

By Josh Korda

Death is inevitable. And may arrive even sooner than we dread. A truth is revealed in the precariousness of the human condition, in the body’s vulnerability to infection, disease, and injury: mortality is not the result of fortune or a world gone awry, but a consequence of life itself. While it has been established that we are living in the safest…

Listening to Silence, Hearing the Unspeakable

By Jennifer Stitt

Today we are launching a new series on solitude by Jennifer Stitt, a historian of modern American thought, culture, and politics working on her Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This piece on silence and solitude is the first of five short essays that will be published monthly.  In 1852, Herman Melville described the dark depravity of silence. “All profound…

Creating Spiritual Intimacy On “The Angry Planet”

By Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

If we look at the political and social conditions on this planet, all indicators point out that the days ahead will be difficult ones. We are experiencing what Isaac Asimov called “the angry planet.” However, I believe it is not only an angry planet, but a sick and suffering planet. Since the beginning of the Renaissance period, Western civilization has…

working with fear dalai lama thubten chodron

Working with Fear

By The Dalai Lama and Thubten Chodron

Fear is an emotion that can be spoken of in two ways. In common parlance, fear is usually associated with panic, anxiety, worry, and distress; it is considered a negative emotion because it feels so unpleasant and is often based on unrealistic thinking. From a Buddhist viewpoint, this kind of fear is afflictive because it is based on exaggeration and…

interconnectedness interbeing thich nhat hanh

The Insight of Interbeing

By Thich Nhat Hanh

Emptiness does not mean nothingness. Saying that we are empty does not mean that we do not exist. No matter if something is full or empty, that thing clearly needs to be there in the first place. When we say a cup is empty, the cup must be there in order to be empty. When we say that we are…

Can Contemplation Still Find a Place in the World?

By Thomas Merton

Can contemplation still find a place in the world of technology and conflict which is ours? Does it belong only to the past? The answer to this is that, since the direct and pure experience of reality in its ultimate root is man’s deepest need, contemplation must be possible if man is to remain human. If contemplation is no longer…