As an academic - a researcher and senior lecturer at a university in the UK - people are often surprised by my unorthodox views on the nature of life, and of the world. For example, when I mention to colleagues that I’m open-minded about the possibility of some form of life after death, or that I believe in the possibility of paranormal phenomena such as telepathy or pre-cognition, they look at me as if I’ve told them I’m going to give up academia and become a truck driver.
Buddhism explains the profound truths of life. But it also provides an immensely practical method for overcoming obstacles and transforming oneself. It can be applied to every area of your existence: family, work, relationships, health. And it can be applied by anyone. Each and every human being contains the inherent capacity to be a Buddha
In the years after Jesus was crucified at Calvary, the story of his life, death and resurrection was not immediately written down. The experiences of disciples like Matthew and John would have been told and retold at many dinner tables and firesides, perhaps for decades, before anyone recorded them for posterity.
If anything seems self-evident in human culture, it’s the widespread presence of religion. People do ‘religious’ stuff all the time; a commitment to gods, myths and rituals has been present in all societies. These practices and beliefs are diverse, to be sure, from Aztec human sacrifice to Christian baptism, but they appear to share a common essence. So what could compel the late Jonathan Zittell Smith, arguably the most influential scholar of religion of the past half-century, to declare in his bookImagining Religion: From Babylon to Jonestown (1982) that ‘religion is solely the creation of the scholar’s study’, and that it has ‘no independent existence apart from the academy’?
Spiritual creativity is a way of life, a way of wholeness. It is a path of integrity. Integrity entails not just a few beliefs or specific acts, but an attitude that we adopt and practice in our everyday lives...an ongoing process that can bring you much joy.
New Jersey’s first Sikh attorney general, Gurbir Singh Grewal, was a target of disparaging remarks recently.
For many non-Muslims, the fast food carts that line the streets of New York City and San Francisco are their primary point of contact with halal foods.
Compassion is not a thought or a sentimental feeling, but is rather a movement of the heart. Compassion is born out of lovingkindness. But we may get distracted, we forget, we get caught up in something else, or we confuse another feeling for the state of compassion.
Claims about supernatural phenomena, including weeping statues, have historically been common in Catholicism.
Most religious people think their morality comes from their religion. And deeply religious people often wonder how atheists can have any morality at all.
Identity can compel you to reject the truth – even when you have evidence proving it. We see this today with the US political establishment: Trump supporters can look at two photos of his inauguration and say the largely empty Mall is full.
When a family member or a friend passes away, we often find ourselves reflecting on the question “where are they now?” As mortal beings, it is a question of ultimate significance to each of us.
Americans have debated what it means to be religious in politics throughout American history. Because a wide majority of Americans have claimed some form of Christian belief, these debates focused on Christianity. And they continue today.
The kind of Christianity that makes headlines today is the Mike Pence brand – conservative and aligned with the United States Republican party – leaving many people to believe, including progressive Christians, the religion is politically irredeemable.
Sicilian priest and long-time exorcist Father Benigno Palilla recently told Vatican Radio that requests for exorcisms had tripled in the past few years.
It is fair to say that many folks today are abandoning traditional religion in favor of a deeper, more contemplative spiritual life. Mysticism is becoming more mainstream, and religious dogma is less likely to be accepted without question.
Run through as large an inventory as you can of the things that you would like to define your life. Then make the shift in your imagination from an "I am not" or "I am hoping to become" to "I am". Beginning with your inner dialogue, simply change the words that define your concept of yourself.
When I came to the United States, people did not seem to know very much about Buddhism. We Tibetans realized that it would be beneficial to teach and explain the dharma. We began to talk to people about how to create peace within their heart and peace within the world. We taught how to move beyond suffering.
I grew up in a Christian home, where a photo of Jesus hung on my bedroom wall. I still have it. It is schmaltzy and rather tacky in that 1970s kind of way, but as a little girl I loved it. In this picture, Jesus looks kind and gentle, he gazes down at me lovingly. He is also light-haired, blue-eyed, and very white.
On March 17, people around the world will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by parading in green hats, sporting images of shamrocks and leprechauns
Who was Mary Magdalene? What do we know about her? And how do we know it?
It would be easy to conclude that there’s a deficit of morality in the world today. That if only people were more motivated to behave ethically, if only they made morality more prominent in their thinking, then the world would be a better place. But, I’d argue that there’s not a lack of morality in the world; there’s too much.
Life is a prayer in the sense that it is a continuous request to the universe. God understands our desires not just through the occasional utterances that we call "prayers" in the traditional sense, but through every thought we think, every word we speak, and everything we do.
Although the Voice for God is always present and available, God will not speak to us until we have invited Him/Her to enter our awareness. This is the first step in aligning ourselves with our spiritual power. It is the only step that we must take on our own, in that it is the step of inviting and calling upon the Holy Spirit, Voice for God, or Universal Mind.
Buddhist teachings are often summarized in terms of the "three principle aspects of the path": renunciation, compassion, and the wisdom realizing emptiness. The first step on the path of renunciation is to begin searching for happiness within. Renouncing the world does not mean rejecting the world...
The new TV series Britannia, which has won plaudits as heralding a new generation of British folk-horror, is clearly not intended to be strictly historical. Instead director Jez Butterworth gives us a graphic re-imagining of Britain on the eve of the Roman conquest.
When we talk about “human values” we tend to mean important abstract ideals. Things like freedom, equality, security, tradition and peace.
Certain attitudes are automatically more magnetic than others. Willingness, cheerfulness, kindness—all wholesome, spiritual attitudes are magnetic. Unwillingness, discouragement, and similar negative attitudes, on the other hand, impair the free flow of energy.
Savior archetypal figures reflect a common longing for a new Divine Human. Rather than being copycat myths, they represent allegories of humanity’s universal mystical potential for divine incarnation and the restoration of a sacred universe. The Divine Human comes to heal the culture’s abandonment of the realized divine.
The perfect parking place shows up every time. Teeth with cavities grow new gold fillings seconds after a healer prays. The perfect house becomes available, a job opens, money multiplies, the right people appear... I don’t “believe” in miracles like these; I see them in my daily life...
Realizing that we create everything we experience - no matter how positive or negative it may seem - is the first step in spiritual mastery. But it's only the beginning. Trying to satisfy the endless needs of the ego leads to complete disillusionment. I'm a strong proponent of viewing acts of service as a...
I might be about to ruin your Christmas. Sorry. But the reality is those nativity plays in which your adorable children wear tinsel and angel wings bear little resemblance to what actually happened.
Even if you don’t believe in Christ or a God, religion can still be a powerful force. Research shows that even nonreligious people may hold unconscious beliefs linked to religion that can affect their psychology.
President Trump’s announcement on Wednesday, Dec. 6 that the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel received widespread criticism.
American families blend a mix of religious identities and traditions today more than ever. These interfaith dynamics appear in day-to-day life, but the holidays can add extra emphasis.
Charles Manson, who died Nov. 19, famously attracted a coterie of men and women to do his bidding, which included committing a string of murders in the late-1960s.
There is a large billboard sign along the Saw Mill River Parkway north of New York City that reads in big bold letters, “Prayer Works.” There are no other words on the sign. A man named Tom rode by that sign every single day on his way to work. He did not believe in prayer and he scoffed at the sign each day.
I ask you to think about this question: do you really ask for help when you need it? If the answer is yes, do you ask for assistance with the little things in your life or only the big-ticket items? And who or what defines little...
Type “Holy Grail” into Google and … well, you probably don’t need me to finish that sentence. The sheer multiplicity of what any search engine throws up demonstrates that there is no clear consensus as to what the Grail is or was.
Throughout American history, religion has played a significant role in promoting social reform.
Each of us creates our own karma. Our past thoughts, speech and behavior have shaped our present reality, and our actions (and thoughts and speech) in the present will in turn affect our future. The Buddhist doctrine of karma is not fatalistic. Karma is...
The deepest mystery, and perhaps the one for which there will never be an answer that will completely satisfy the itch of the intellect, is the miracle of Life itself. In his book The Living Universe, Duane Elgin writes, “American Indian lore speaks of three miracles. The first miracle is that...
Halloween is the time of year when interest in the paranormal peaks and people celebrate all things supernatural. Of particular fascination are stories and tales of ghosts and ghouls and poltergeists.
For every study that suggests a research link between prayer and healing, there are countless counter-arguments, rejoinders, rebuttals, and denials from legions of well-meaning “authorities,” whose principal motivation seems to be to save people from their own faith.
A recent study we conducted, led by psychologist Will Gervais, found widespread and extreme moral prejudice against atheists around the world.
On Oct. 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of Germany’s Wittenberg Castle Church and inadvertently ushered in what came to be known as the Reformation.
Our ego, which is that fearful, judgmental voice in our head, that never feels satisfied, that constantly feels inferior or superior to others, that always wants more, more, more in order to feel ‘happy’, well that ego can often try to hijack our spiritual journey...
At stake here is the language used for the Mass and the question of who has the responsibility for translating the Catholic liturgy into regional languages.
From Oct. 6 to 9, 2017, the National Mall in Washington, D.C. was filled with tents, worship music and prayer for the “Awaken the Dawn” rally. The purpose of the event, according to organizer Lou Engle, was to “gather around Jesus,” to pray for the nation and its government. It ended with a day of prayer by Christian women.
Millennials, we are told, have a different attitude to work than their elders. They want to work for organisations committed to values and ethics, where there is a higher purpose than simply making a profit.
Some religious teachings may start out as lessons in Oneness but, over time, they become distorted, reinterpreted to be a lesson that justifies duality. The ancient story of Adam and Eve is one example. A common version of the story explains that humankind is doomed to live in misery because...
The Ecstasy of St Teresa of Avila (1647-52) by 17th-century Italian sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini is one of the most famous images of the Baroque period. Located in the Cornaro Chapel, Church of Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome, the marble sculpture represents Saint Teresa of Ávila, a Spanish nun canonised in 1622, sprawled on a cloud with an angel.
Misunderstanding, not being heard, and missing key information due to poor listening are at the crux of societal ills. One of the main reasons we listen poorly is because our internal noise levels are so turbulent and obtrusive that they mask most of what others are saying. Only bits and pieces of their message survive the...
Religion has been a divisive force for thousands of years. Yet religions have done much good. They have offered comfort and hope to the masses at a time when their consciousness was closed to true spirituality.
We do live in a spiritual universe, a universe that is intelligent and creative, and it is a thing of law and order. The universal Mind contains all knowledge. It is the potential ultimate of all things. To It all things are possible...
Can religion and spirituality promote ethical behaviour in the workplace? It’s a contentious issue, but our research comprising interviews with forty Indian top level executives suggests it might.
Despite the manifest differences in how they practise their religions, Jews, Christians and Muslims all worship the same God.
A 2017 letter from the Vatican reminded the world’s Catholic bishops of a rule mandating the use of wheat gluten for the celebration of the Eucharist, a Christian liturgical service called the Mass by Catholics.
Conservative Christian pastor John McTernan argued recently that “God is systematically destroying America” out of anger over “the homosexual agenda.” There were others who disagreed over the reasons for God’s anger, but not necessarily with the assumption that God can be wrathful.
Soul retrieval is one of the most effective and well-known practices to restore lost life force. The loss of life force is known as soul loss, and this can take place when we suffer a trauma—an accident, separation from a partner, the death of a loved one--or go through a pervasive period of difficult circumstances.
The fact that we do not have a well-developed science of happiness today is really quite bizarre. We have an embryonic start in positive psychology, but why weren’t scientists studying happiness from the beginning, when Copernicus was studying the stars? This lack was demonstrated vividly in 1989, when the Dalai Lama...
Is God a terrorist? No, obviously not. God is love. But not everyone agrees with that. “God is on our side” has been a rallying battle cry since religion was invented. But it’s inaccurate to blame religious differences for our bloody history of killing each other.
The journey to enlightenment is the removal of the seven veils of illusion. They can more easily be removed during moments of cosmic light or in special meditations. Alternatively you may wake up one morning feeling that things are different. A veil may have been released during your spiritual journey of the night...
I was about to have my evening meditation at about nine o'clock. I reached to turn out the light when a voice spoke to me, as if a real person were standing close to me. The voice said, "Robert, it is time we had a long talk..."
I was for a number of years the choir director of a First United Methodist choir while all the while remaining, in my own offbeat way, a practicing Jew. Some may see my actions as hypocritical, but I do not. I learned a lot by becoming involved in the music and ritual of another religion.
I realized that peace was the complete absence of fear. It was the feeling of true, pure, untarnished love, the light that shines in all of us, free of any fear-based thoughts or beliefs.So I ask the question: Is it possible to experience that peace on earth? I’m not sure, but I think it’s worth asking for.
The words 'We are ALL One' have reverberated through the hearts and minds of Humanity in one form or another since the beginning of time. They do not express a lofty platitude or a sweet cliché even though our lower human egos have often perceived them as such. They profess a profound Truth.
Sharia in Arabic means “the way,” and does not refer to a body of law.
Researchers in religion studies are using computer simulations to help answer big questions about religion’s benefits (potentially better mental health) and its evils (violence in the name of God).
The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for two attacks that claimed at least 12 lives in Iran on Wednesday. With this, the flaring tensions between Sunnis and Shias are once again in the news.
Every culture has had its own concept of evil or the devil. In Genesis, there is the famous temptation of Adam and Eve by evil—personified by the snake. While the Hebrew Bible mentions Satan by name only in the book of Job, the idea of evil permeates Jewish mystical and religious thought.
You would have thought that Western society might have grown out of the habit of portraying powerful women as witches, but a trope that usually ended badly for women in the Middle Ages is still being used in the 21st century.
Naturally, the question arises: must we worry about every fleeting word? Many New Thought teachers caution us to watch our every thought, in keeping with a narrow understanding of the power of the Word. Be careful, they warn, because...
The question of whether a God exists is heating up in the 21st century. According to a Pew survey, the percentage of Americans having no religious affiliation reached 23 percent in 2014. Among such “nones,” 33 percent said that they do not believe in God – an 11 percent increase since only 2007.
The first time I actually saw a rainbow, its quiet beauty struck my heart with such awe that it touched something deep within me. Just seeing a rainbow catches you quite off guard and somehow just makes you stop and look ... and wonder.
In an era where traditional church attendance has declined and the fastest-growing religious affiliation in America is the “nones” – those who claim no affiliation with an organized faith – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has continued to expand.
Many people are weakened by the influences of others. Negative messages from parents, teachers, clergy, peers, the media, and other manipulative powers hold sway and weigh them down. In a web of confusion and fear, they...
On Palm Sunday, April 9, the Islamic State targeted two Coptic churches in coordinated bombings in the Egyptian cities of Tanta and Alexandria.
The Washington Post recently published a profile on Karen Pence, the “prayer-warrior wife” of Vice President Mike Pence.
Christians will be celebrate Easter, the day on which the resurrection of Jesus is said to have taken place. The date of celebration changes from year to year.
Priestly celibacy, or rather the lack of it, is in the news. There have been allegations of sex orgies, prostitution and pornography against Catholic clerics in Italy.
The Lakota phrase “Mní wičhóni,” or “Water is life,” has become a new national protest anthem.
There has been much misinformation about Islam. Reports in Western media tend to perpetuate stereotypes that Islam is a violent religion and Muslim women are oppressed.
Buddhist masters have said that the mind is like a king and the body and speech are like servants. If the mind accepts something, then the body and speech follow. If the mind is not satisfied, no matter how...
For several months Native American protesters and others had been opposing the building of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Researchers may have uncovered a link between religiosity—a disposition for spiritual experience and religious activity—and epilepsy.
The season of Lent is upon us. This is a holy season for Christians who seek to identify with Jesus Christ’s 40 days of fasting as he prepared to be tested and later crucified.
I am fascinated with the idea of fine-tuning our “receptors” to the higher frequency of joy. Activating spontaneous feelings of upliftment and well-being can become our normal way of life. To help us understand this concept more fully...
Some people say, If there are all these angels waiting to help us, then why haven't they already done something about this problem in my life? But what they don't realize is that the universe doesn't work in a top-down management style; it's based on free will and team work.
President Donald Trump recently pledged to “destroy” the Johnson Amendment, a 63-year-old law that bans charities from engaging in political activities.
The world seems to be witnessing increasing levels of violence, fear and hatred that challenge us each day.
Many Jews celebrate Shabbat Shirah, the Sabbath of Singing, which commemorates one of the most vivid musical performances in the Hebrew Bible
It’s been a heady two weeks for right-wing Christian evangelicals. Never before has a president of the United States — not Reagan or either of the Bushes — delivered so much of their agenda in such short order as Donald Trump has just done.
Some conservative Republicans changed their thinking about climate change after Pope Francis framed it as a moral issue in his second encyclical.
On Friday, Jan. 27, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that placed a stay on refugees from seven Muslim majority countries.
When the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, proposed a ban on the burqa and niqab at a conference of her political party in December 2016, she was following the lead of a number of countries in Europe which already have such legislation in place
A recent survey of the religious profile of the 115th Congress revealed that despite the increase in the number of Americans who claim no religious affiliation, members of Congress are overwhelmingly religious, with only one member identifying as having no religion.
Love enters and exits our physical body through the sacred coordinate within our heart. It permeates every organ, cell, and atom but it does not call any one of these its home within the body. Not even the heart can contain the enormity of love: It merely translates the language of love.
Signs left by the angels are meant to help stir and awaken our intuitive nature so that we can expand our conscious connection and deepen our relationship with a higher power. The power is not within the sign itself; the power is within the message that the sign reveals...