Sunday, February 20th, 2022February 20, 2022
“What’s the difference between a prison and a monastery?” Dass would ask. The answer: “Almost nothing. Both are filled with people who are alone in their cells all day, far from the world. The difference is that for the monks it is heaven, for the prisoners it is hell.”
[Feast for the Soul]
I come back and pour two whiskeys neat and we stand in the kitchen and talk about it all, the dreams, the making the dreams happen and then we toast ourselves and our dreams and the pushing as hard as we can against the inevitability of death because that’s just what you should do with your once and only life.
‘From Inside the Monastery’
This is not some simplistic “change your mind, change your life” solution. I can’t opt out of my corporeal reality; I don’t have the spiritual muscles to lift myself out of physical discomfort. So I have to learn to hold both: to be in great pain and, at the same time, to find some small respite. I can’t wait for dreamy, poetic moments of inspiration (as when the above image—of a roseate spoonbill holding me in an inflatable lifeboat—occurred to me), but work very hard to seek them anywhere and everywhere I can. And wonderfully, when I start looking, I find them more often. I feel them more often.
‘Look Down, Get Low, Think Small’
I once walked through the world with such certitude, convinced by what lay before me. Now I know reality comes in layers, complex and delicious. Crawling around the forest floor has slowed me down, brought me closer to the earth, and made me somehow braver. How can our world be so scary when there’s more beauty in a square foot of forest, more wisdom than we’d expect in an acre? Humbled, heart opened, desirous, now when I step outside I look down, get low, think small.
This love is actually part of you; it is always flowing through you. It’s like the subatomic texture of the universe, the dark matter that connects everything. When you tune in to that flow, you will feel it in your own heart — not your physical heart or your emotional heart, but your spiritual heart, the place you point to in your chest when you say, “I am.”
When you need it, loop it. :)
The Power of the DotFebruary 18, 2020
The Power of the ‘Pale Blue Dot’ Three Decades Later
The spacecraft that captured the famous, fuzzy photo grows weaker each year, but the image still soothes.
I emailed Amanda, who lives in Berlin now, to ask her why she decided to get the tattoo; she’d told me it was meaningful for her the day she got it, but I couldn’t remember the specifics. “I wanted to have a permanent reminder of how small my daily problems and heartbreaks were in the scheme of the universe,” she said. “I wanted to be able to look down and think, Oh yeah, none of this matters, so just try to be kind and grateful and enjoy yourself.”
Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there—on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
It is a lovely perspective, this view of outer space as salve, and it could be quite effective; after all, there’s no bigger picture than the entire universe. But more often, especially these days, I’ve heard a darker interpretation of our smallness in the face of celestial forces. A small corner of the internet invokes the workings of the cosmos as a way of dismissing depressing headlines here on Earth. Yes, everything is awful, such people half-joke, but who cares? We’re all going to perish during the heat death of the universe, anyway. Didn’t you hear our sun will collapse in on itself in less than 5 billion years? Or that the Milky Way is expected to collide with another galaxy even sooner?
At the risk of sounding too earnest—but what else are anniversaries for?—I hope “Pale Blue Dot” inspires the opposite. Believing that one-10th of a pixel on a screen is going to bring people comfort is foolish, of course. But it’s something.
What is water?January 28, 2020
“Great reminder that the way we look at the world is biased by where we look at it from.” -Dr. Joe Hanson
The only one who has heard all of it…January 23, 2020
“Jerry Garcia performed thousands of times, and he was the only one who heard every performance.
The same is true for the work you’ve created, the writing you’ve done, the noise in your head–you’re the only person who has heard every bit of it.
Tell us what we need to know. Not because you need to hear yourself repeat it, but because you believe we need to hear it.
Take your time and lay it out for us, without worrying about whether or not we’ve heard you say it before. We probably haven’t.”
A Country’s LensDecember 18, 2019
Perspective is the beginning of freedom.
So much of our suffering is caused by the lack of perspective.
Think of an argument you had recently.
Take out a piece of paper and write down the argument from the other person’s point of view.
Hold as precious this new perspective.
Ignorance. Not stupidity. Fear. Not hate. “Finger pointing leaves our electorate on edge. Empathy is the key to finding common ground. There is palpable fear in the air. We need to find a way to raise our voices and listen with our hearts.” -Dan Rather
Perspective.October 3, 2019
On The Media
Hi. Good day. Can we offer you a different perspective?
This is the view from a microscope one of our producers has at home. What looks like just a swirl of colors is actually...
…a flower! Thus begins a journey that could also be read as a metaphor of sorts, a gesture toward the value of seeing things through a different lens (see what we did there?). Coming up next…
Kind of soothing, no?
Did you see that coming?
Succulent leaf from the office.
Thus concludes our first installment of Better Know Something Under An OTM Producer’s Microscope.
Changing our narrative…July 31, 2016
‘If you’re not happy with the feeling, try dropping the narrative. After all, it’s your narrative, the story you have to keep telling yourself again and again, that’s causing the feeling to return.’