Laughter and Silence; Meditation Is More Than Science; Witnessing and Being Intertwined With Each Other; We Won a Webby; Reading Terry Tempest Williams’ Comments

Laughter and Silence; Meditation Is More Than Science; Witnessing and Being Intertwined With Each Other; We Won a Webby; Reading Terry Tempest Williams’ Comments

“Laughter and silence are among our most reliable guides on this magical mystery tour called life.”

In silence, there is a depth of communion that trumps what we can achieve with words. In laughter, there is a depth of communion that trumps what we can achieve with solemnity. Parker Palmer with an incredible column pondering the spiritual odd couple of laughter and silence, shadow and quiet.

Wearing a 128-channel geodesic sensor net, Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard sits in a soundproof room and prepares for an electroencephalography (EEG) test at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (Jeff Miller)

“We need to remember to look at our lives for signs — to consider how we are with our partners, our children, our colleagues at work, or even with strangers. Even more importantly, we need to look at how we speak to ourselves when we have made a mistake…”

Much great brain research has been coming out about the value of meditation and mindfulness. But, when the rigor overtakes the intention of the practice, how do we measure success and the “powerful signs of change in our everyday lives”? Sharon Salzberg with this thoughtful commentary on seeing meditation only through a scientific lens.

People wait for the bus at the Mondawmin Station while police secure a shopping mall in Baltimore, Maryland. Mondawmin Mall was looted by people Monday afternoon, the same day as the funeral for Freddie Gray. (Andrew Burton / Getty Images.)

We are inextricably entwined with each other. Both Courtney Martin and Omid Safi identify this interdependence in their columns this week. Omid sees the pain and suffering of two tragedies — in Nepal and in Baltimore — and appeals to all of us to embody the ethics of a natural tragedy, reaching out in compassion, when we’re faced with man-made destruction and systemic corruption.

“I know that we as human beings are capable of reaching out beyond the confine of our own concern. I know that we are capable of doing so when the ‘offensive’ agent is the only mother all of us share: Mother Nature. We do not lash out against nature, or God, but reach out in compassion to one another. It’s harder for us to exhibit the same compassion when we humans are involved.”

Protestors march a the Millions March for justice for victims of police violence in New York City. (The All-Nite Images / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).)

“If the moral arc of the universe is long, as Martin Luther King so famously said, than our witnessing has to be sustained.”

Beyond the truncated arc of our broken news cycles, Courtney Martin asks how we might root ourselves in a deeper commitment to our own humanity — and of others — and continue to stand up against injustices despite the mundanities that take us away from this calling.

There’s so much good humor in the world. Pakistan included. I happened upon this Instagram post by poet and writer Fatima Bhutto with the tongue-in-cheek caption:

“The fun never stops in Lahore.”

Life needs more levity.

Krista shared this blog post by Lisa Bennett with me; I share it with you. On overcoming fear of climate change.

The highlight of the week: winning a Webby Award and the People’s Voice Award for best website and being nominated as one of the five best radio/podcast websites! That’s good company to keep. A healthy congrats to KCRW, whose site is stellar.

Castle Valley, Utah (Terry Tempest Williams)

Connection is a peculiar thing. Especially online. I ran across the photo above that the marvelous writer Terry Tempest Williams posted to Facebook. The caption read simply:

“Home.”

And then this back story revealed itself, through the comments section of all places. It’s a beautiful piece of writing about the land that she loves and the dog that brought her home.

I welcome your feedback. Please feel free to contact me via email, tgilliss@onbeing.org, or by Twitter at @trentgilliss.

May the wind be at your back.

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was the founding executive editor of On Being Studios.

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