The Fourth Love

A few weeks ago, in a moment of honesty and self-awareness, a friend of mine confessed to feeling less excited than they expected about the recent spike in national dialogue about systemic injustice.

Fourth Love

Even though this person both studied this problem deeply and worked as an activist for several years, they asked “what if I was passionate because I got something out of it? Years ago, I was one of the few white people I knew actively organizing against systemic racial injustice. Now it seems like common knowledge, less unique. Is that why I’m not as passionate now?”


Reducing the Compassion Gap

A few weeks ago I found myself unable to perform my regular Centering Prayer practice for much of the week. My schedule was very unusual, including two sleep studies, one at a sleep lab, and several night’s sleep interrupted by my young son.

At the same time, I faced setbacks in several projects at work. And irregular circumstances required I stay at the ready for much of the week and skip my regular work out times. The fogginess from the lack of sleep only made matters worse. In the midst of this general slog, I received a co-worker sent me an antagonistic, disrespectful email.


What I Learned On A Silent Retreat

Recently an old friend of mine suggested we get together for a silent retreat to catch up, rest, and spend time in silence and meditation. We usually struggle to find a time that works with both of our schedules, but we finally managed to make it happen. We picked a retreat center about halfway for both of us and made the reservation.


I’d never been to this location before and had no idea what to expect. What were the accommodations like? Was there heat in the rooms? What would the food be like? Who would be there? Would we be expected to participate? What would we be participating in exactly? It was all pretty vague, and I don’t particularly like vague.


What The Mystics Call Love

After graduating High School overseas I was at a loss as to where to go next. I had family in the Pacific Northwest, a girlfriend in Australia, and friends scattered across the US and England. I decided to spend a year living with my brother near Seattle to take my time with the decision.


As a missionary kid from a humble family background attending a prestigious international school in Europe, I had enjoyed an illusory sense of social standing. Now the cold reality set in. We lived in a basement in a working class town and earned little at our jobs.


From Victimhood To Freedom

When I was in a relationship in my late teens I was cheated on. What made the experience even more devastating was the sacrifices I had made for that particular relationship and how tightly I clung to it for a sense of self-worth. Talk about all your eggs in one basket!

The psychological toll was tremendous, especially for someone who’s core desire is for affection and esteem. For me, that meant serial fixation on someone as the source and symbol of that affection and esteem.


A Practical Guide for a Bumbling Mystic

A little while ago I was contacted to see if I would be up for reviewing an upcoming book on the blog. Technically I refer people to books all the time, so I was at least open to it, if a little wary. But the project sounded interesting, so I decided to read it and promised to post a review if it could serve my audience in a practical way.

Going through the process of finding a publisher for my current book made me certainly aware of the herculean task of building some buzz around a project you deeply believe in. So I looked up the author’s company, Mindvalley, and looked into one of their new ventures, Soulvana, offering subscription-based spirituality courses by people like Thich Nhat Hanh and Eckhart Tolle. Fascinating.


One Book That Will Help You Wake Up

During an especially difficult period for me I connected with a friend who was going through difficulties of her own. She’d recently gone through a divorce and was confronting addiction issues in her life head on.

As one of the few people whose book recommendations for me are consistently spot on, I asked what she was reading at the time. One of the titles on her current list was Awareness by a writer I hadn’t heard of: Anthony De Mello.


How To Find The True Self

A year after becoming a father in a new house and taking on a new job, sleepless and overwhelmed, I was purely in survival mode. I had been struggling to maintain any sense of orientation or even coherent identity. The barista calling out my daily coffee order (as large as possible) seemed one of the few touchstones of identity in a newly jumbled existence.

Throughout adulthood, daily journaling and reflective reading had been a touchstone spiritual practice. That was gone for now. No time. Creative practices like writing and music had kept me centered. These were on hold. Travel or long phone chats with old friends? Gone. Spiritual or scriptural reading? Intermittent at best.


One Phrase That Will Help You See With The Eye of a Mystic

Many years ago I was asked to speak at a retreat for college students on worship. I wasn’t ready. I had recently finished my Masters in Theology and the Arts, had a couple of years of teaching under my belt and had some thoughts on the topic of the retreat.

But deep down, I was terrified. I was afraid I’d be exposed as a fraud. I was far from a good place internally. I was angry. I was bitter and resentful about my life situation at the time. The poor kids on the retreat were treated to an extremely self-conscious speaker who didn’t exactly deliver.


One App That Helps You Get Time To Pray

When I taught High School, tutored, coached, and taught Saturday school, my wife and I also had very opposite schedules. The little bit of time we did have together we were feverishly catching up. After Seminary I was still wrestling with a lot of theological questions, but my schedule, hectic as it was, seemed to prevent any kind of inner work. A prayer life was non-existent. Time to pray seemed like pure luxury, even on rare occasions when desire was there.  I hadn’t yet learned the importance of saying no and burnout was looming.