Is there a Santa Claus in the optinos market?
Over the last few weeks I have received several mass e-mails with similar messages:
“In the spirit of the month of Elul – when we ask for forgiveness and prepare for repentance during the coming Holy Days - if I have in any way harmed or offended you, please forgive me.”
There are many misconceptions about the nature of religion and faith, born partially from the media's presentation of extremism as though it is normative, from individual experiences with abusive or extremist sects, and from the belief that religion is antithetical to science and reason.
A confession: I tend to react poorly when I believe that someone is criticizing me, often getting defensive or trying to make the other person wrong.
We all can see the polarization that is currently at the core of much of the angry political discussions in the country. And we may be tempted to believe that this is something new.
The ego is getting a bad reputation.
There seems to be a popular conception in some spiritual circles that the ego must be battled; that it is somehow inherently destructive.
For several months last year, when anyone Googled my name, the first item that came up was, "Alan Lurie: What a Jerk." This was a link to the first blog that I wrote for The Huffington Post titled "What a Jerk!" which was an exploration of the Jungian concept of the "shadow."
Several months ago my wife and I attended a prayer service at a synagogue that is well known for its spiritual, and spirited, approach. As we entered, the Rabbi was leading a meditation. “Close your eyes and breathe in the peace of Shabbat [the Sabbath],” she said.
Moderation seems to be under attack.
This attack is clear in the realm of politics, as each party flees to the ideological extremes, claiming that compromise with the other is a dereliction of duty and principle, and that moderation is a weak and indecisive position.
Several months ago, as I was riding on the
On September 15, I had the privilege of speaking on a panel in
Spiritual growth begins with the basic acceptance that life is difficult. Buddhism, for example, teaches that suffering results from the ego’s attachment to that which is transient, and that we each can end suffering through right knowledge, action, and thought.