The Symphadox: Physics, Animism, Synchronicity, and Neural Nets

Back in 2014, musing on Emma Restall Orr’s excellent Wakeful World, I presented a paradox at the center of the mind / body dualism that’s usually assumed by both western science and religion. The crux of the paradox is: why are we conscious, but other things aren’t? Most people consider humanity conscious, but all other…

The Chapel for the Vigil

The chapel for the vigil is in
A wild forest, a wild stony river, bugs and birds.
Heat, but the breezes are cool.
The sound of water everywhere.

Things Fall Apart: Why We Think Everything’s Getting Worse

Most Americans, year after year, continue to think that the country is on the wrong track. The older you are (i.e, the more experienced you are, and the more of history you’ve seen), the more likely you are to think everything is falling apart. And it’s not just in America: worldwide, people tend to think…

Meditation: Animist Consecration

Last night my awesome wife Ali and I joined in a set of consecration ceremonies at our Unitarian Universalist church. Along with the Reverend’s UU blessing and our friend Chris’s Wiccan consecration, we demonstrated a Druid / Animist method of connecting with an object. I say “connecting with” an object instead of “consecrating” because in…

The Mind of a Rock: Musings on Orr’s ‘Wakeful World’

For thousands of years, Western civilization has been living with a striking paradox. On the one hand, we are clearly physical beings living in a physical universe. And yet, we have these thoughts, feelings, dreams, and perceptions… They seem related to the physical universe, yet fundamentally different in character. We have an ‘inner’ life, which…

The Upper Airs: Layers of Landscapes in Meditation

In meditation I almost always return to an inner landscape which I’ve described in a lot of detail elsewhere, but starting about a year ago I discovered I had access to another world, one that felt like it was directly above the old one — as if it were a mile or two up, floating…

The Sea and the Soul

The Proto Indo Europeans of the steppe near the Black Sea had no word for “ocean”. They had mori or mari, meaning “lake” or “sea,” but this most likely referred to the sparkling quality of its surface (cf PIE mer, “clear, sparkle”) and did not carry connotations of vast continent-wrapping waters. When the Indo Europeans…

The Song of Self

A puzzle: Do you exist? Descartes famously answered this one by saying cogito, ergo sum: I think, therefore I am. Is it true, though? Does “thinking” have to be attached to a “thinker”? And what is “thinking” (cogitare) anyway? For Christians, the Self definitely exists, and is in fact eternal: after you die, your soul…

Sphere, Spirit, Stone

My old blog, the Word of the Day, is defunct, and I’m getting ready to take it down. Before I do, though, I’m going to repost some of the best words here over the next few weeks. Enjoy! Sphere Sphere comes from the beautiful Greek word sphaira, which meant “globe” or “ball”. By the time…