Learning from Silence

There’s nothing like a 7-day silent retreat to shut you up. I don’t mean just during the retreat, when, of course, you’re supposed to be quiet. But even after. I’ve found that since returning from a week-long meditation retreat in July, I’ve been reluctant to write. Not about public affairs, which I write about forContinue reading “Learning from Silence”

Separating the Normal from the Natural

I’m getting ready to head out on a 7-day silent meditation retreat, and I’ve been feeling a little weird about it. So I really appreciated coming across Paul Graham’s essay, The Acceleration of Addictiveness, which in large part explains why I’m doing this. A computer programmer and founder of the startup funder Y Combinator, GrahamContinue reading “Separating the Normal from the Natural”

Love and Activism

A few years ago I was on a nonprofit leadership training retreat, when everyone had to go around the circle and declare their “purpose.” This was the sort of exercise I dreaded, so I scrambled to come up with something plausible I could say that wouldn’t be too embarrassing. Then I heard one of theContinue reading “Love and Activism”

The Demoralizing Science of Success

One of the most interesting subjects in the field of Positive Psychology is the science of human motivation and success. Why are some people so motivated and so successful? Why do some people not even bother to try? And how does that correlate with human happiness? I find this all fascinating. But I also findContinue reading “The Demoralizing Science of Success”

It’s Not a Package Deal

One of the problems with being a cynic is that, when you’re trying to learn something new, it’s easy to focus on all the things that sound wrong or silly or otherwise questionable and to disregard the entire lesson or experience as a result. I was sitting in a meditation class recently, for example, whenContinue reading “It’s Not a Package Deal”

Balancing the Terrible and the Beautiful

Anyone involved in social justice work of one sort or another, whether providing direct services or advocating for better laws and policies, will find themselves spending an awful lot of their consciousness wallowing in the world’s muck. It can be exhausting. It also sometimes leads to the obvious question: why am I doing this? OfContinue reading “Balancing the Terrible and the Beautiful”

You Can’t Own It All

When I go on vacation, I like to find a remote and quiet spot. In fact, much of the reason I go on vacation is to escape the sounds of sirens and jackhammers and car alarms and blaring music I confront on a daily basis in New York City. Inevitably, though, when I get toContinue reading “You Can’t Own It All”

A Deceptively Simple Practice

I’ve written before about my difficulties with a daily meditation practice, but since I’m increasingly convinced of the benefits of mindfulness meditation and other forms of mind training on health and overall well-being, I was particularly pleased to come across a short meditation recently that’s both easy and effective. It’s also a great coaching tool.Continue reading “A Deceptively Simple Practice”

Mindful Management: A No-Brainer  

There are all sorts of books out there telling people how to be better managers – do these 5 things (e.g., “expect excellence”), etc. But having both been a manager and been managed for many years in lots of different organizations, I think it really boils down to one key thing: being mindful. In otherContinue reading “Mindful Management: A No-Brainer  “

A Question About Meditation

I like to read about meditation – the shelf on my night-table is filled with books by Pema Chodron, Mark Epstein, and various other Buddhist-inspired meditation teachers, whose words and ideas I find soothing, especially before bed. But actually sitting on a cushion and meditating every day? Not so much. I like meditating in groups,Continue reading “A Question About Meditation”