• A Special Bond Paid Member

    It is like this: wherever we go, people make a beeline for Moune. One block of Charlottesville’s pedestrian mall will bring “What kind of dog is that?” “Oh, honey, come check it out! He looks just like Benji!” “Is that a Briard?” “Can I pet him? Her?” “What’s its name?” “Winn-Dixie!” “Can I take a picture?” “How old is he?” “Hey Bud!” “Oh. My. God. She is so PRESH!” Some days we enjoy the limelight; other days Ma Moune tolerantly stands there while I, hackles raised, can barely suppress the urge to growl and bare my teeth. It is great patience practice if I’m in a hurry or a bad mood. I’ve joked with friends that next time I’ll get a dog that everyone will pass by without a second glance. More »
  • Meditation, According to Stock Photography Paid Member

    Meditation and its redheaded stepsister mindfulness are currently sweeping through the Occident like a sandalwood-scented tsunami. You can’t swing a dead snow lion without hitting someone who’s been to a meditation seminar, retreat, class, symposium, workshop, or would just really, really like to try it. For, like, focus, you know? Focus and calm. And less stress. It does that, right? My considerable and well-wrought snark aside, this is a good thing. While I’m attracted to meditation for one reason—the attainment of total enlightenment and its attendant powers of telekinesis and teleportation—many folks aren’t into that. Whatever your personal preferences, mo’ meditation, unlike mo’ money, generally doesn’t lead to mo’ problems. In fact, it generally leads to fewer. The mo’ meditation, the better, I’ve always said. Or at least thought to myself. More »
  • 10 Steps to a Mindful Wedding Paid Member

    On July 25th my fiancée, Courtney, and I got married. It was truly incredible, partly because now I never have to say the word fiancée again. While other people said girlfriend or boyfriend, husband or wife, for 14 months we used this flowery French term that made it sound like we were constantly one-upping everyone. “Oh, you got married in a hotel? My fiancée and I are getting married in a barn in Vermont.” Even the mundane began to sound pretentious: “My fiancée and I had cereal for breakfast.” (And of course we used Dom Perignon instead of milk.) More »
  • 5 Reasons I Haven't Settled on a Buddhist School Paid Member

    What do you look for in a Buddhist tradition? What draws you in and makes you feel like one specific approach is your home? A charismatic teacher? Pragmatic meditation techniques? Elaborate rituals? Fancy man-dresses and sparkly beads? The opportunity to kung fu your enemies? Want to know what I look for? Probably not, but here goes.            I look for perfection. Utter, complete, sublime perfection. For the past 16 years or so I’ve been on an elaborate, grueling search for Buddhism’s immaculate vehicle, the tradition or lineage that will slingshot me to enlightenment without ruffling any of my admittedly messy feathers, the one that suits me to a T. Not too hot. Not too cold. Just right. More »
  • In Pursuit of Bird Poop Paid Member

    I graduated from college in the spring of 2008, just as the economy shuddered, gasped, and died. Not that the fatality mattered much to me at the time. Having spent the previous four years reading philosophy—Plato, Kant, Hume, and more Derrida than is likely healthy for a developing brain—I was borderline unemployable anyway. Or so I’d been told by the jerks in the Econ. Department.  More »
  • 5 Things That Might Surprise You about Meditation Retreats Paid Member

    The glory. The soothing waves of warm peach syrup flooding the folds of your brain. The sheer bliss of sitting still and letting ultimate peace Jägerbomb your delusions and peel away the spiky freakishness of daily existence. Breathe in, relax. Breathe out, super-mega relax, but still keep control of your sphincter. Calmness like honey on your nerve endings. A sniff of liberation somewhere down a candy corridor. Stop reading now if this has been your only experience on meditation retreat. The rest of this article is not for you. Matter of fact, what are you even doing here? You should be in the backyard levitating. More »