On the Blog
A reflection acknowledging that the injustice of suffering can’t be wrapped up in a neat bow of closure. Instead, we the author looks to her culture’s understanding of ancestry — in the responsibility we have to the loved ones we’ve lost.
On the Blog
From a Hmong writer’s encouragement to Oprah’s advice on how to say no, our editor-in-chief serves up his favorite commentaries on grief and loss, intergenerational relationships, solitude in faith, judging the poor, and apologies.
In her cohousing community in Oakland, our columnist is experiencing something all-too-rare: deep friendships across generations. What if we turned more actively to the wisdom — and plain old good company — of our neighbors, older and younger?
The value of solitude isn’t simply in retreating from a chaotic world. It’s a discipline that’s different for all of us — and one that we can practice wherever we are.
We can’t take wilderness retreats every time we feel caught up in the world’s madness, but a poem can be a momentary reprieve.
A NASA climate scientist wrestles with the story of the ocean’s “long slong to equilibrium,” the ease of modern life, and the whispers that continue after we’re gone.
From remembering police captain and dharma teacher Cheri Maples to soliciting perspectives on solitude and being alone, our editor in chief’s list of the week’s most compelling commentaries on motherhood, solitude, eldering, male vulnerability, and exile.
A tender, empathetic, and honest letter to an unknown friend about the anguish of grief — through a story of young love, the loss of a child, and the realization that pain marks an opening to a future where new life can take root.
Our columnist gets honest about missing true solitude as a mother of young girls, and reflects on how crucial it is for women to carve out space to nurture no one but themselves.
An ode to a sentence from the legendary poet on recognizing and honoring the sacrifices of generations past to get us where we are — and on “paying it forward” as the best way to pay them back.
A poem on letting go of our “known way of being” and discovering the wisdom of letting things unfold around us.
Can nations apologize for harm they’ve caused? A human rights scholar delves into the philosophical quandary of collective atonement.
What’s your three feet of influence? Rumi’s renewed appeal thanks to Bey & Jay. Breaking open one’s heart. Happiness as human flourishing and more ideas from our editor-in-chief.
Through the intimacy of chosen mother-daughterhood, a woman navigates the fraught territory of craving Chinese identity as a white American — and recognizes that some identities cannot be earned or learned, but are gifts passed on.
After reading Hanya Yanagihara’s novel “A Little Life,” our columnist grapples with the reality of suffering that doesn’t make us stronger.
Learning of the great ethnomusicologist’s death, our columnist offers an “ocean of remembrance” in return for the Turkish Sufi master who embodied the poetry of Islam in both his music and his being.
A poem from Gregory Orr on the silver lining of a heart shattered open: the knowledge that our broken places are where beauty comes from.
A woman finds the gift of stories to ground us and give shape to our suffering — by teaching creative writing to in-patient adolescents on the psychiatry floor of Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Be the first to try out our new On Being discovery tool for exploring hundreds of conversations in our archives! And, excellent writings on privilege, solitude, and productivity to accompany your listening.
To make the world a better place is an intimidating challenge. But what if we focused on our immediate surroundings?
Can being lost be productive? Our columnist on lingering in the mystery of our purpose — and surrendering to the paths that choose us.
We can communicate with almost anybody at any moment and all the time. But are we losing our capacity to be alone, and therefore our ability to think anew? Rediscovering this ability just may be pivotal to the health of democracy.
An antidote from Margaret Atwood for the hubris that leads us to claim ownership over the living lands that nourish us.
Our Letter from Loring Park opens our application process for the inaugural On Being Gathering. And, articles on the complexities of family and love, giving up on the myth of perfection, grappling with inherited prejudice and being recognized for who we are, and on a revolution that starts within.
Rather than focusing on what’s beyond the limits of ordinary experience, we might be better served focusing on what’s within.
In a turning cultural tide, non-religious Millennials and the Christian church find themselves at odds. But do they have to be?