Coming Clean About Our Mental Health Challenges

“Teaching is carrying on your education in public.” I had no idea when I agreed that co-writing Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics would expose a deeper layer of my own peculiar brand of mental struggle: Attention Deficit Disorder (with a generous helping of mood swings).

Pluralism as Path

Almost any domain or activity in life can be approached as an intentional practice, and the people who specialize in these domains have learned important things about being human. How can we draw this wisdom out? Introducing the Consciousness Explorers Club's new pluralistic practice paradigm :)

Is Consciousness Evolving?

A more realistic take on the so-called "evolution" of consciousness: an increase in discernment and sensitivity, largely driven forward by young people. It’s obvious why young people see and experience bias and discrimination at a level of nuance many in older generations cannot: they aren’t habituated yet.

The Promise and Peril of Spiritual Belief

I have a theory, a theory based on experience. And that’s what my theory is about: the feedback loop between our ideas about reality, and our experience of reality. An exploration and critique of spiritual growth and understanding, with a new ending to make everything extra useless and confusing.

Fuck It

Human experience seemed to unfold across a rich spectrum of possibly, yet if you only read the newspapers and magazines and book reviews of the intellectual mainstream you’d never know any of it was happening at all.

How Zen Masters Die

Meditation and other contemplative practices seem to accelerate the aging-gracefully gradient. They are ways of thinning out in the prime of life - a kind of dying in the midst of the everyday. Then when death does come, there’s nothing to fear, for - as Bertrand Russel wrote - "the things we care for will continue."

Enlightenment’s Evil Twin

The benefits of mindfulness meditation have very quickly become one of the good-news mental health stories of our time. But meditation also has a shadowy seam. Is there a link between some forms of mental illness and the freedom promised at the heart of meditation? My column on the infamous "Dark Night of the Soul"

The Neuroscience of Suffering and Its End

Fourteen years ago Gary Weber’s thoughts disappeared, and all his suffering vanished with them. Was it the disappearance of his thoughts that saved him, or is something else going on?

Among the Nonduals

Proponents of nonduality tell us that we take a leap of faith and actually live our lives from the truth of direct experience, eventually the age old barrier between inside and out will erode. A report from the 2013 Science and Nonduality conference in Holland.

Understanding Animal Minds

Scientists and philosophers have long erected an insurmountable barrier between humans and animals. This seems to be changing. The human imagination is moving outward. The animals are coming. Hide the nuts!

Science and Spiritual “Enlightenment”

In March of 2012, myself and twenty other “adept” meditators participated in an experiment to try to answer the question: what is the real resting state of the brain? Strange things happened. An exploration of one view of so-called "enlightenment."

The Anxiety of the Long-Distance Meditator

“Stream entry,” is a Buddhist term for initial enlightenment — a shift in perspective where the practitioners’ mind flips inside-out, and for a split-second recognizes its own inseparability from the rest of the natural world.

Whales Are People Too

This piece on whale consciousness and animal personhood won a Gold and a Silver medal at the 2012 Canadian National Magazine Awards. Whales are people too; the science proves it. Are humans ready to see them as equals?