Might we understand each other better if we dropped our assumptions and reframed the questions we ask? The contemplative season sparks ruminations on how we might be more generous in imagining our neighbors, and ourselves.
When we encounter the stranger, a deepening exchange takes place. Through the metaphor of marriage and her own personal vows, an Episcopal priest calls for a return to unity and the remembrance of the shared history and values that bind Christians and Muslims together.
The catharsis of living up to challenge, in all walks of life — essays on powering through the hardest miles in a marathon to facing a crowd of unfamiliar strangers, to reckoning with one's best and worst selves while reflecting in the solitude of the woods.
The act of running reveals. An avid marathoner realizes that her physical training is also a spiritual exercise — a place to meditate on the move and find God in unexpected, sacred places.
Though she's the example many turn to for guidance on mindfulness practice, Sharon Salzberg didn't always find meditation so easy. She reflects on an early retreat in India, and what it can teach us about letting go of ideals, and having faith in what is.
When a young, Evangelical Christian is diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, it's the music legend David Bowie who provides him with salvation and a renewed hope in "the Church of Man."
Unexpected relationships can lead to deep and lasting learning and growth.
When the complexities of life challenge us, we find ourselves longing for simplicity. A poetic rumination on the desire to bolster belief with understanding.
How should we receive the news from Paris? Omid Safi shares a few thoughts on the attacks after spending a day of silence.
The Philippine-Catholic ritual of pabasa reveals the power of song to reacquaint us with tradition, bridge superficial divides, and connect us through the kinship of our imperfections.
“Benedictine spirituality and Zen Buddhism became the two lungs through which I breathe.” The Belgian author Bieke Vandekerckhove passed away this week. Patrick Henry honors her life by shining a light on The Taste of Silence, her recently translated book on genuine faith — and honest doubt — of a "spiritual giant."
"The Book of Mormon" made its way to the heart of LDS country, Salt Lake City. Using parody and sarcasm to challenge people and power structures can be a noble one. A practicing Mormon willingly goes to see a well-known musical which ridicules her faith — and emerges unashamed.
Terms such as Jubu and Nones may be inadequate labels to describe a person's faith journey. Sharon Salzberg with a reminder that what you call yourself may not be as important as how you live.
Suffering can be a backstop for unexpected joy. A lyrical "Rumi"ination on shadow, gratitude, and the light of the stranger.
At the age of 18, a young woman goes into a coma and faces a near-death experience. For nearly four years, she's hospitalized and tries to find peace and God — in a well-lit intensive care unit — in her dreams. A story of faith, hope, and gratitude for the landscape of dreams.
When faced with the inner void, the fear of emptiness can tempt us to refill and restock as quickly as we can. Could an emptying clear the space to experience something else? Set against the background of opera, one woman's gorgeous account of truth breathed into the void.
Mysteries of an expanding universe and other ties to what makes a life worth living.
To be faithful and to practice faith in the Buddhist sense of the word, one must walk a path of doubt — one of honest questioning and active investigating. An enlightening column from Sharon Salzberg.
A meditative petition to sit in stillness, to choose trust over doubt and forgiveness over stubbornness when the difficulties in life take hold.
Experiencing the ineffable is a winding path, a journey with as many pivots and tacks as straight lines. And sometimes you find your course in a dentist's chair, contemplating why the this matters and realizing you just need to show up.
When age and experience dwindle our capacity for wonder, the books of our childhood may be our salvation and our "thin places" where the boundary between the material and the magical opens ourselves to wonder all over again.
A sampling of our best picks of the week on everything from vocation to multitasking, honoring teachers and Alzheimer's patients. And some ways to join On Being in the studio or on your iPad.
As part of a conversation with the Church of Ireland about the question of human sexuality, our special contributor confesses his "gay agenda": to love the gospels; to love repentance; to love words and courage and my partner; and to show love to each other on our great endeavor.
A daughter reflects on the quiet, unassuming ways of her father — and how being "rooted in the physical" helps her and her son connect without the use of words or a faith in something larger than what's in front of them.