One of the great defining moments of my life came when I was in college. I had been practicing Orthodox Judaism for about seven years, a very meaningful path for me. I came to a point, however, when the rituals had become rote and dry for me. On one holiday, a fast day, I was very hungry. But I feared to eat because I might go to hell for violating the religion’s rules. After struggling with the choice, I came to a striking realization: fear is not a good enough reason to do a religious act, and certainly no foundation for a life. So I ate a piece of cake...
Inrural West Bengal, India, many people harbor the strange belief that if they have been bitten by a dog, they have become pregnant with its puppies. The fearful victims run to a witch doctor, who administers yogurt and herbs and tells them they are no longer pregnant.
posted 11 April, 2014 (Tuesday, 1 April, 2014) - Alan Cohen
As commuters hustled through the Washington, D.C. metro station on a cold winter morning, a musician stood next to a wall playing his violin, the case at his feet open for tips. He played six Bach pieces for 43 minutes.
My Australian client Meg was tired of her corporate job and wished she could create a layoff with a generous severance package. So for fun she wrote herself a severance letter offering her desired package, printed it on company stationery, and signed it from the CEO. This was her idea of creating a treasure map toward her ideal scenario.
While in Japan I met an American woman who had been living in that country for twenty years. I asked her how long it had taken her to learn the Japanese language. “A couple of years,” she answered. “But I still don’t understand everything. Just the things that interest me.
One of my favorite movies is the Truman Show, in which a man has unknowingly been born and raised on a massive TV set on which the entire world watches his life unfold. Eventually Truman begins to discover that the life he has been living is contrived, and he attempts to escape the tiny world in which he is trapped.
I recently painted a deck on my house. I enjoy painting, a meditation in being present that doesn’t require much thought but lots of attention. If you tend to live in your head, paint something. Your hands may get dirty but your mind will stay clean.