“One benefit of a journaling practice is that it enables me to ‘look upon’ my thinking with a little more distance and objectivity. The activity of writing itself (a Yang sort of doing) brings a sense of order to the sometimes chaotic (Yin-like) dimensions of my consciousness.”
Everyday Sublime: Shadow | Light | Unity
The Everyday Sublime podcast explores a full spectrum spirituality. Each week Josh will release a dharma talk, and each month Josh will publish a long-form conversation with a thought-leader from the field. As Stephen Batchelor says, "the mystical does not transcend the world, but saturates it."
According to Joseph Campbell, mythology concerns the cosmological, sociological, pedagogical, and mystical dimensions of life. “If the mystical dimension is not there, you don’t have a mythology, you have an ideology (Campbell, Mythos).” Meditation is a ritualized application of mythical pedagogy to realize for oneself the mystical union with all of life.
“It’s hard to build coherent international governance on a foundation of incoherent nations. An America lacking in cohesion, divided along red-blue lines, won’t have the political will to do ambitious, politically difficult things. Such as: crafting and then participating in new forms of international cooperation designed to prevent things like pandemics, environmental calamities, and arms races in space or in bioweapons or in AI.” – Robert Wright
“When we practice with all conditions, we gain improvisational skills for life; we learn how to creatively adapt to things outside our comfort zone, thereby widening the experience of peace that is independent of conditions.”
“You know, you get a lot of people who are supposed to be hip. And they act like they’re supposed to be hip, which makes a big difference. But being hip isn’t a state of mind, it’s a fact of life.” – Cannonball Adderley
“In meditation, there’s nothing to change other than one’s capacity to witness and flow with the changes of experience.” – Josh Summers
“The more we realize that most of our views of ourselves, of others, and of presumed limits regarding our talents, our health, and our happiness were mindlessly accepted by us at an earlier time in our lives, the more we open up to the realization that these too can change. All we need to begin the process is to be mindful.” – Ellen Langer
“Life is change; and if you don’t like it, it doesn’t think much of you either.” – Josh Summers
“Social psychologists argue that who we are at any one time depends mostly on the context in which we find ourselves. But who creates the context? The more mindful we are, the more we can create the contexts we are in. When we create the context, we are more likely to be authentic. Mindfulness lets us see things in a new light and believe in the possibility of change.” – Dr. Ellen Langer
“To borrow language from music training, meditative training can be seen as a development and refinement of capacities for improvisational flow within and across the changing landscapes of rhythmic (physical), harmonic (energetic and emotional), and melodic (thinking) patterns of being.” – Josh Summers
One form of drowsiness and low energy that can arise in meditative practice is the sort that stems from discouragement and disappointment. Very often, unacknowledged expectations can fuel a subtle frustration within one’s practice, and that discouragement, in turn, can zap one’s enthusiasm for practice. The key is to remember the simple orientation of practice: The only experience to have in mindfulness practice IS the experience that one is having, plain and simple. The encouragement is to hold and receive each and every experience with tender care.
During his junior year of college, a tragic accident during a game of pick-up basketball disrupted Howard Axelrod’s course in life. As a way to make sense of himself and of life, Howard did what I’ve only fantasized of doing: He went to live in the woods, in utter solitude, for a very long time.
“The ‘transcendent’ big ‘S’ Self is one hundred percent present on and within each and every experience. In fact, the Self is what is conscious of every experience.” – Josh Summers
“The path tends to move along a continuum from personal dukkha – or fundamental wrongness – to a transformational awakening – or unconditional rightness.” – Josh Summers
“To me, the only habit worth ‘designing for’ is the habit of questioning one’s habitual ways of seeing, and that is what artists, writers, and musicians help us to do.” – Jenny Odell
“The perch is the seed of stillness. Receptivity is the seed of awareness. And choice is the seed of surrender. In the beginning, these principles feel distinct, but with time, they become three facets of the same unified field of experience.” – Josh Summers
Natural selection did not program humans to be happy or to see the world accurately; it simply optimized our ability to get our genes into the next generation. This calculus extracts a cost on our mental health, and mindfulness is a medicinal practice heals this equation.
The rapid acceleration of technological evolution paired with the slower evolution of human psychology poses a serious existential threat. Will human psychology evolve to avert the apocalypse? Robert Wright has thoughts to share.
“But no matter the medicinal virtues of being a true friend or sustaining a long close friendship with another, the ultimate touchstone of friendship is not improvement, neither of the other nor of the self, the ultimate touchstone is witness.” – David Whyte
“The yin-yang symbol is not, therefore, what we call a dualism, but rather an explicit duality expressing an implicit unity.” – Alan Watts
“Most people think there are a lot of bad people running around in the world. There aren’t a lot of bad people, there are a lot of bad ideas and bad ideas are worse than bad people because bad ideas are contagious. Bad ideas get good people to do horrible things.” – Sam Harris
“On the path we open to the experience of bad karma – created by ourselves and by others – and we turn it into good dharma, the development of compassion and wisdom.” – Larry Rosenberg