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March 13, 2020

A Listening Care Package for Uncertain Times

The meaning of the Inuit word “qarrtsiluni” conjures up a striking image: “sitting together in the dark, waiting for something to happen.” Teju Cole shares the word in his On Being conversation, and it’s been increasingly resonant in the months and weeks since COVID-19 began affecting communities across the…


February 25, 2020

Response to Investigation of Jean Vanier

Editor’s note: In February 2020, L’Arche International released the results of an independent investigation that it commissioned into Jean Vanier, who died in 2019. The investigation determined that the L’Arche founder, Catholic philosopher and humanitarian engaged in manipulative sexual relationships with at least six women from 1970-2005. None…
Meet Pádraig Ó Tuama: poet, theologian, conflict mediator — and host of The On Being Project’s new podcast, Poetry Unbound. Those who have listened to Pádraig’s two On Being interviews (the first in 2017 and second alongside poet Marilyn Nelson in 2018) may know him…


July 25, 2019


https://onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Loitering-for-CD.mp3   I’m sitting at a café in Detroit where in the door window is the sign with the commands NO SOLICITING NO LOITERING stacked like an anvil. I have a fiscal relationship with this establishment, which I developed by buying a coffee, and which makes…
https://onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/555-867-5309-for-CD.mp3   Today I was sitting down to a meeting with my friends Dave and Kayte to discuss the excerpt of Kayte’s graphic novel our little press is going to publish. When Kayte pulled the box from her bag that contains all her beautifully drawn pages, her…
https://onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Joy-Is-Such-a-Human-Madness-for-CD.mp3 Editor’s note: The audio above begins midway through the essay. So writes Zadie Smith toward the end of her beautiful essay “Joy.” She gets there by explaining that she has an almost constitutional proclivity toward being pleased. She is a delight to cook for, she suggests, because your…
“Poetry,” says David Whyte, “is language against which you have no defenses.” Poetry can also help us find our center after a chaotic moment — like recess. That’s the kind of space poetry provided for fourth- and fifth-grade students at The Juniper School in Durango, Colorado, last month. Every day,…


April 5, 2019

Of the Training of Black Men

At the beginning of the 20th century, W.E.B. Du Bois asks, "what training for the profitable living together of black men and white?"


January 27, 2019

Love and Fire

What is it that we are to do with grief? We can turn it inward, making prisoners of our own bodies. We can turn it against others. I want to believe that we can also be transformed by loss.


January 27, 2019

Being Lonely

What does it mean to remain faithful to our shyness? When feeling at home in ourselves is different from feeling at home in the world.