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A Reflection on Yom Kippur

I longed to be grounded once again in the reality of my everyday life. The familiar messiness. These very piles of paper. My work. The cacophony of street noises on my New York block. The personalities that drive me to distraction.

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On Finding My Favorite High School Teacher

I wanted to ask if she might like to have lunch someday. I felt nervous and 17 again. Thankfully she beat me to it. That’s how I came to be seated in the dining room of her orderly, yet cheerful, northern NJ condo.

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Waiting for an Embrace from Amma, the “Hugging Saint”

Amma, otherwise known as the "Hugging Saint," is an Indian woman -- a divine spirit by some accounts -- who is said to have the power to transmit a spark of unconditional love and compassion through her embrace. People came from all around the country to stand in...

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How (And How Not) to Be a Good Samaritan

Daniel Goleman says that we don't have to be stuck running the same neural connections for the rest of our lives just because that's what we've always done. It turns out that we can become better people by reprogramming ourselves -- even when time crunch and life pressures...

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Art as Life, Life as Art

I picked up a canvas with Banksy's beat up Buddha and wondered what the kids would make of it. So I plunked down 25 pounds and bought it. The first thing I did when I got home was pound a nail into the empty wall...

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Contemplating the Rabbit Hole

There should be a rule against writing about meditation retreats immediately after they're over. In those first hours and days post-retreat, it’s as if I’m experiencing the world through a fresh set of eyes. The cosmos have aligned. Nothing could be a problem. It also...

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Why I Meditate

Fortunately for me, New York City is a very easy place to learn to meditate. In the midst of all the hustle, there are meditation centers of all stripes. I pretty much tried them all, finally alighting on the non-sectarian vipassana meditation as the one most in...

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A Miracle on Earth Day

On this 40th anniversary of Earth Day, I’m writing to you from what I consider to be an extraordinary slice of paradise… the cheerful park right next to our apartment complex that used to be called “the ugliest park in Manhattan.” Less than one year ago, Luther Gulick...

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