I was raised Roman Catholic in Berkeley, California, and at university boomeranged to the socially liberal extreme. I cast off my belief in God, agreeing wholeheartedly with Marx that “the existence of religion is the existence of defect”. But I soon found that those who claimed to be free of religion, including myself, often came to embody its worst aspects. Among the greatest mistakes that educated westerners make is to assume, first, that religion can be eliminated from politics, and second, that it is a purely reactionary social force.

Padraic Rohan in The New Humanist

One way to express the crisis of our time is to say that most of us have an address but cannot be found there.

Henri Nouwen (via)

Man has to suffer. When he has no real afflictions, he invents some.

Jose Marti



When children have trouble learning, it is rarely because they are intellectually incapable., it is often because a one-size-fits-all educational process does not support their unique ways of learning. A system that requires them to fit a culturally expected norm, and often defeats them when they do not fit, delivers another blow to their faith in themselves. I suspect that many children who excel and are rewarded with good grades and special honors do so more as a survival reflex than because they experience a real joy in learning or because their souls are rejoicing at finding the support they need to express their innate genius. In any case, children subconsciously learn that they are valued for what they achieve and how they perform, not for whom they are. Once again the message, at least subconsciously, is “You are not sufficient as you are.”

Richard Moss in The Mandala of Being: Discovering the Power of Awareness

After all, you are what you are every moment of your life, but you are rarely conscious of it, except, maybe, at the point at awakening from sleep. All you need is to be aware of being, not as a verbal statement, but as an ever-present fact. The awareness that you are will open your eyes to what you are. It is all very simple. First of all, establish a constant contract with your self, be with yourself all the time. Into self-awareness all blessings flow. Begin as a centre of observation, deliberate cognizance, and grow into a centre of love in action. ‘I am’ is a tiny seed which will grow into a mighty tree — quite naturally without a trace of effort.”


Nisargadatta Maharaj in 'I Am That' Freedom from Self-Identification

New Humanist: Federico, what are you trying to say in your book by comparing work to religion?

Federico Campagna: When I first moved to Britain from southern Italy, I noticed this strange attachment to work, which contradicted the image I had of Anglo-Saxon rationalism. Instead of the activity of work being efficiently aimed at something, it was going round in a circle. People kept working overtime and I kept wondering, “Why do they do that? They are not going to get any praise, they are not going to get any money, they’re actually damaging their lives, so why do it?”

I noticed there was a religious element, in the sense that work gives you something that nothing else does, which is that you became part of something bigger than yourself. You sacrifice your life, but what you get is somehow immortality, you become part of capital, part of the nation, part of the everlasting glorious community, and so on.

Shaivite Philosophy


Shaivite Philosophy

No separation among

  • Theology
  • Cosmology
  • Science
  • Religion Aim


  • the nature of the world
  • the destiny of living beings

From inside the Universe is

  • a game
  • or a fantasy beyond the birth of
    • space
    • time
    • existence

The Being that imagined the world is

  • unkownable
  • imperceptible
  • inactive
  • nonexistent

Creation of

  • space
  • energy
  • matter
  • time


The way of yang

The closest the universe ever came to pure yang, according to this thinking, would be that little speck of matter whose explosion created the Big Bang. That is what happened at the end of a great universal crunch, where yang predominated. At the extremes yin becomes yang and yang becomes yin. The Big Bang began a period of universal expansion, of yin predominance. And when a point of extreme yinness is reached, we can expect a reversal, another Big Crunch, leading to another Big Bang and the cycle goes on forever. But how would we have a crunch if matter is disippating as the universe is expanding and therefore the pull of gravity is getting weaker and weaker? Don't forget that I am arguing from a yin/yang perspective, not a gravity/ thermodynamic perspective. Yes, the universe in general is expanding, but there are black holes that are vortexes of extreme yang that are pulling matter into them. Yang doesn't grow in size. It contracts and grows in strength. So as the universe, in general, becomes more dispersed, there are black holes that are becoming not bigger but more powerful. The crunch will happen when the black holes reach enough strength, enough yang intensity, to collapse into each other and then to suck back the universe. Michio Kushi, The Kushi Institute

Listen to your soul

Sam: Why didn’t you just become a student of Tolle’s?

Dan: I think that Eckhart Tolle is correct, but not useful. I’m stealing that distinction from the meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg. I think his diagnosis is correct, but he doesn’t give you anything to do about it, at least that I could ascertain. He has sold millions of books about “spiritual awakening.” If he were truly useful, we should have a reasonable population of awakened people walking around, and I’m just not seeing them. I found Tolle to be both extraordinarily interesting and extraordinarily frustrating. The lack of any concrete advice was really the source of my frustration, alongside the aforementioned weirdness. I think Tolle deserves credit for articulating a truth of the human condition extremely well. But I also think that it’s a legitimate criticism to say he doesn’t give you anything to do about it.

[Sam Harris and Dan Harris]


Don’t argue with a fool. (People may not know the difference)
Elisa Vannini 

Dhal, brown rice, salad and God’s email

I will do it tomorrow

Coming back

Supertramp – Fool’s Overture
History recalls how great the fall can be
While everybody’s sleeping, the boats put out to sea
Borne on the wings of time
It seemed the answers were so easy to find
“Too late,” the prophets (profits) cry
The island’s sinking, let’s take to the sky
Called the man a fool, striped him of his pride
Everyone was laughing up until the day he died
And though the wound went deep
Still he’s calling us out of our sleep
My friends, we’re not alone
He waits in silence to lead us all home
So tell me that you find it hard to grow
Well I know, I know, I know
And you tell me that you’ve many seeds to sow
Well I know, I know, I know
Can you hear what I’m saying
Can you see the parts that I’m playing
“Holy Man, Rocker Man, Come on Queenie,
Joker Man, Spider Man, Blue Eyed Meanie”
So you found your solution
What will be your last contribution?
“Live it up, rip it up, why so lazy?
Give it out, dish it out, let’s go crazy,
Fool’s Overture lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group [LyricsFreak]

Turning now to the views on anima and animus that imply gender directly, it is first of all noteworthy that these are terms taken from the Latin. Like most cultivated Europeans of his day, Jung was fluent in the classical languages and he found it quite natural and convenient to use these sources to name psychic figures and structures. Anima means “soul” in Latin, and animus means “spirit.” (In German these appear as Seele and Geist.) From one point of view, there is not actually much difference in meaning between these two Latin terms. If one thinks of the soul (anima) as leaving the body at death, as the Greeks and Romans supposed, it is equivalent to saying that the spirit (animus) has departed. Spirit is often depicted as breath or air, and to catch a person’s last breath as it leaves the body is to catch the person’s soul. Thus the terms spirit and soul are nearly interchangeable. Also, both words refer to the inner world of persons, to the soulful and the spiritual. The questions to ask about one’s own anima and animus are: What kind of soul do I have? What kind of spirit?

Murray Stein in Jung’s Map of the Soul: An Introduction


The center

It was an early observation of Jung’s—later developed into theoretical propositions—that the psyche consists of many parts and centers of consciousness. In this inner universe, there is not simply one planet, but an entire solar system and more. One can speak of people as having a personality, but in fact this is made up of a cluster of subpersonalities.

Murray Stein in Jung's Map of the Soul: An Introduction

We have an endless stream of thoughts and emotions, uncontrolled movements and also controlled movements, sexual desires, genius ideas and morbid ideas. An ‘endless parade of unconscious babble’ that races constantly thru our minds when we are not focused on something else other than ourselves. Most neurotic behavior we experience is quite often just an over-consumption of ourselves, and our own little parades.

In the work, we say we have many ‘I’s. Every thought, emotion or feeling is an ‘I’. Many thoughts and emotions are complex groups of ‘I’s. We may have completely opposing groups of ‘I’s that don’t even acknowledge each other. Thus explaining the phenomena of how we sometimes contradict our own selves. In work discussions, it is not uncommon to hear a student start a conversation by saying, “I have an ‘I’ that thinks such and such.”

There is much to gain from this understanding. The most immediate advantage of knowing about man’s dividedness is that it immediately explains why man makes the mistakes and has the misperceptions he does about himself and almost everything around him. To apply this concept to one’s life, is to see a thousand personal instances where our own dividedness has misled us or confused us or discredited us in front of others. To have control over, at least some of this dividedness, can only bring us good fortune.

M. P. Taylor in The Balance of Being

George Gurdjieff used to say that man is a crowd. Personality is just a deception because you are not a person, you are many persons. So when one person speaks in you, that is a momentary center. The next moment there is another. With every moment, with every atomic situation, you feel certain, and you never become aware that you are just a flux – many waves without any center. Then in the end you will feel that life has been just a wastage. It is bound to be. There is just a wastage, just a wandering – purposeless, meaningless.

Tantra, yoga, religion… their basic concern is how first to discover the center, how first to be an individual. They are concerned with how to find the center which persists in every situation. Then, as life goes on moving without, as the flux of life goes on and on, as waves come and go, the center persists inside. Then you remain one – rooted, centered.

Osho in The Book of Secrets




It is the hardest, most lonely, most painful feeling in the world – and it is one I had never expected.  I left the job market at age 50 or 51 to care for my parents, both of whom were disabled and who could not have stayed in their own home without my caregiving.  Naturally, I had to leave behind all the friends I had made at work and in the other offices in that area.  As I got into the routine of full time caregiving, I realized that I would have very little time to spend with friends, even on the telephone.  So, the situation required that I pare down my friends to only the closest 4, most of whom had been my friends for 30 years or more.  Even then, I had very little time to talk with them, and getting together with them usually involved seeing one another in the hospital, either when they came to visit one of my parents, when I went to visit them, and on 2 occasions, when they came to visit me when I was hospitalized.  Truly, as an only child and with no other family support, my parents became my entire world, with the exception of one or two events a year.  My parents and I had a very close relationship, and I adored them, even had great fun with them to the end of their lives, so not having time for any friends didn’t feel like a terrible deprivation.

I took care of my parents in this manner for the last 14 years of their lives.  My father died in 2004.  The GREAT shock came to me one year later when my very best friend (aside from my mother) died, too.  After that, and for the next 5 years, my mother was my entire life, and she needed almost all of my attention, as she became more ill and increasingly disabled.  My dear and beloved mother died in 2009, just 8 days before her 90th birthday, and just before Christmas.  I was so devastated that I was not able to function much at all for the next year.  No time of my life has ever been harder and more lonely.

My experience of being completely alone and having no friends hit me like a ton of bricks at the funeral home.  In between the death of my father and the death of my mother, ALL of the only friends I had kept in contact with during my years of caregiving, died.   As I sat in the chapel at my mother’s funeral, I looked around and realized that I was completely alone on this planet.  For a very long time, I felt as though some alien ship had dropped me off on this planet, knowing no one and having no family, saying, “Now, Go.  Make a life.”  Where?  How to begin?  I was 63 years old, and for the very first time in my life, I had nobody.  That deeply affected me in ways no one can imagine unless s/he has experienced it.  When you’re younger, you naturally meet people and make friends at school, at work, at church, among your children’s friends, at volunteer or other social activities, and other such involvements.  Those avenues were all closed to me at that age.  From having lifted my parents, who are MUCH larger and heavier than my tiny 94-lb. frame, I injured my vertebrae, resulting in constant pain from advanced degenerative disc disease.  I’ve also developed other health issues, which limit my activities to one degree or another.  Because of my constant neck, head, shoulder, and upper arm pain, I can’t attend college or other classes or even volunteer for charities I’d like, because I simply can’t be counted on to show up.  I never know when my pain will be so debilitating that I can’t get up, so anything with a schedule is not a reasonable option for me.

Although my legs are still good for the most part, I can go hiking, and I have met some people there.  But, we don’t really get together to do anything outside of talking with one another on the hiking trails.  My life, which was once very active, overly busy, and involved, has become very lonely.  I spend every single holiday and special day alone.  No one ever thinks of inviting a person with no family to join them for a holiday celebration.  It is as though we are the forgotten of society.  (My parents and I always invited at least one person, who was all alone, to spend Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and other special days  with us.  When we barbequed, we always invited at least one such person, so that person wouldn’t have to endure another day alone.  It seems that we have become such an insular society that no one does that any more.  That makes it even more lonely for me, and my holidays all seem quite desolate.  I volunteer every year to serve Thanksgiving dinner to the poor at a local church, but that is the only holiday experience I’ve had since my mother died 5 years ago.  I do that even if I’m in bad pain, simply so I won’t have to be alone again, but I get SO MUCH joy out of my work there, that it keeps me going for months.  (I do not belong to a church, because my beliefs don’t include those kinds of things any longer, but I love people, and so I thrive on serving them when and where I can.  The place doesn’t matter, even if I don’t agree with the precepts underlying it.)  Last year,  I had to take more pain pills than usual and Celebrex, which is dangerous to me, just to make it through the day, serving others at Thanksgiving.

I reconnected with an old friend from high school through an online service, whom I hadn’t seen since 1964, trying to reach out to establish new connections.  That friend was not the person she was in high school, and she betrayed me – even while I was helping her financially by paying her winter heating bill, sending her money for food, car repairs, and every other thing you can imagine, including buying her cat some extremely expensive cat food, which she said was “the ONLY kind he would eat”.  I ended that “friendship” after 2 years, because it was only a one-way relationship.  When I was flat on my back ill for months, she never offered to help me or even come to my home and visit with me.  Although I long to be useful to others, NOBODY wants to be used, and that is what was happening.  I’m not sorry that I put an end to it, because no friend at all is better than one who uses you and betrays you.  So, I invested 2 years and a lot of money in a person who didn’t deserve it, and I’m right back where I was after my mother died.

All of my holidays and special days consist in me spending large parts of my day at my parents’ and grandparents’ graveside, where I place the big, beautiful wreaths I’ve made for each holiday, birthday, anniversary, etc., and I sit on their graves, talking to them as if they were still here, sometimes, even pleading for their help.  They are still the very best that life had to offer me, and I miss them tremendously, especially when I’m facing difficulties or on the days when everybody seems to have a place to go but me.

Being entirely alone in this world means also feeling vulnerable to everything.   So many people – just as I once did – count on, even sometimes take for granted, the emotional, social, and financial support they get from their loved ones, family and friends.  When you no longer have any kind of support, you feel even more alone, vulnerable, and you begin to feel that there is no place in this world for you.  Every holiday, in particular, brings those painful feelings in a loud, unrelenting roar, and they are further punctuated by seeing cheerful families gather around each other for any occasion.   A person’s aloneness takes on a whole new and devastating feel to it when the holidays arrive with all the pomp and circumstance society gives it, and when your birthday comes, but there is no one remaining to even remember.

I hope I have clarified what it feels like to have no friends, no family, no one.  I also hope that anyone reading my comment will take into consideration the things I’ve shared and will include in their activities someone who is alone .  In the blink of an eye, my situation could become yours, and I’m sure you wouldn’t want to be left alone on holidays and other important days.  A funeral, in particular, is an extraordinarily lonely place to be when the few people who attend include people like your mother’s physical therapist and her hairdresser.   Life sometimes just slaps you in the face HARD, and that is one of those times.  Even though I was an only child, I had always had a lot of friends until circumstances required something else from me.  I never in my wildest nightmares imagined that I would be 68 years old and be completely alone.  Please don’t take for granted what and whom you have in your life.  I always appreciated my family and friends, but not to the greatest degree they merited.  Cherish those you love, and include those who are alone.  It is within your power to make another person’s life a life, rather than a mere, lonely existence.

Janice Palesch answering What does it feel like to have no friends? in Quora


CAMPBELL: If you realize what the real problem is — losing yourself, giving yourself to some higher end, or to another — you realize that this itself is the ultimate trial. When we quit thinking primarily about ourselves and our own self-preservation, we undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness.

And what all the myths have to deal with is transformations of consciousness of one kind or another. You have been thinking one way, you now have to think a different way.

MOYERS: How is consciousness transformed?

CAMPBELL: Either by the trials themselves or by illuminating revelations. Trials and revelations are what it’s all about.

Joseph Campbell, Bill D. Moyers, Betty S. Flowers in The power of Myth


Sadness does not sink a person;
it is the energy a person spends
trying to avoid sadness that does that.

Barbara Brown Taylor in Learning to Walk in the Dark (Vía)