I’ve stated many times my belief that letting go of our egos is the paramount objective of the spiritual path. I’ve also said that Mickey Singer’s take on this concept is the most cogent and comprehensible of all the teachers I’ve studied.
Other teachers, like Eckhart Tolle and many others, extol the benefits of being present and not lost in thought/ego land. Most recommend practicing meditation and mindfulness as the path to improving our ability to achieve and maintain presence.
But as best as I can tell, most of these teachers miss, or don’t emphasize nearly enough, that indispensable piece…
This has been a tough piece to write. I’ve put it aside and come back to it for several weeks. Why? Because the subject of parents worrying about their kids is fraught. As a parent, I know I don’t like people telling me how I should or shouldn’t parent my kids and I’m sure most of you don’t, either.
So let me state right off the bat that I’m not going to tell you how to do anything with your kids. …
I might be stepping into a minefield by suggesting that hope is not all good, but hear me out.
Hope has been held in high regard for most of recorded civilization. Here are just a few of the notable quotes:
“Hope springs eternal.” — Alexander Pope.
“While there’s life, there’s hope.” — Cicero
“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” — Desmond Tutu
All three eloquently express the virtuous side of hope. And of course there is a virtuous, wholly positive, necessary aspect of hope.
I’m currently reading Viktor Frankl’s seminal book…
The main teaching for a slew of spiritual traditions is that we are not the sum total of our thoughts and emotions. We are the conscious presence that is aware of those thoughts and emotions.
But let’s be real: It’s extremely difficult to NOT identify with our thoughts and emotions. Why? Because they, and the egoic mind that produces them, are incredibly powerful. They’ve ruled the roost in most of us for several decades.
The hardest spiritual work there is
So separating out and strengthening that conscious presence to the point that it can objectively watch our thoughts and emotions…
As someone who’s devoted the past several years to traveling the spiritual path, I’ve made it a point to devour as many works of wisdom as possible. These works come in the form of books, talks and courses. Many have had a transformational, life-altering effect on me.
Before getting to my numero uno favorite, here are the spiritual works that have touched me to my core.
My favorite spiritual books
What do most of us mere mortals do when our egos get stirred up? We jump in and get involved in it.
What do I mean by this? Let’s take a simple example. Your spouse/significant other struts into the kitchen as your eating breakfast, looks at the sink, then says,
“I see somebody didn’t do the dishes last night. What a surprise…”
In .01 seconds that feeling of rage appears in your lower self. It’s your ego blaring the war horn, calling for the cavalry to charge the enemy. …
Wondering what the heck we want out of life is a question that looms over most of us. The fundamental problem here is that people ask themselves the wrong question. This Eckhart Tolle quote captures the essence of that conflict:
“Instead of asking, ‘What do I want from life?’ a more powerful question is, ‘What does life want from me?’”
Before diving in on this, let’s first dispense with what this quote doesn’t mean. It’s not about ‘How can I best serve the world? Should I help the poor and oppressed in Africa? Should I be a stay at home…
My core issue since childhood has been an unhealthy need to “make it big.” To rise above others in whatever I was pursuing.
I’m the sixth of six kids who had a type A, powerful CEO father who, for his own psychological/developmental reasons, put great emphasis on traditional success. This, unfortunately, rubbed off on me in a significant way.
My career spent chasing the spotlight
While working in Washington, D.C., in the 1980s and 1990s that meant trying to become as powerful a Capitol Hill aide as I could with the most prestigious title. Then it was trying to make…
I’m in the middle of writing something. Into my office walks my eleven year old daughter, tears streaming down her face.
“Dad, mom took away my phone away because she said I was being ungrateful to her about buying me candy at the store. But I wasn’t! I said ‘thanks.’ It’s not faaairrr…”
My daughter, the Academy Award winning actress
Yes, when she gets upset my daughter tends to stretch out the final word of a sentence for dramatic effect. But that’s neither here nor there.
What is here and there is that this kind of thing makes my blood…
I would read a line. Then Martin Sheen, one of the great actors of our time, would read a line. Then I’d read and he’d respond. Back and forth. I couldn’t believe it.
What was this? A table read for a new script of THE WEST WING, one of the best television drama series of all time. Martin Sheen and I belting out crisp dialog written by our boss, Emmy and Academy Award-winning writer, Aaron Sorkin.
The table read was a way of exploring whether the script was reading as Aaron had intended. …