This Present Moment

I was folding laundry this morning, a task I generally don’t like, but try to use as a way to stay present. But my monkey mind was doing its normal thing. I was perseverating about the election season (actually, freaking out is more accurate,) and I was trying to figure out how I was going to keep myself sane for the next 3+ months (and, potentially, the next 4-8 years.)

I was asking myself what kind of information would I want to hear right now? What would I want to learn? What would help me stay centered? And then I remembered one of my current projects. It’s a low-key project, one I’ve been ruminating on literally for years (since seminary 10 years ago.)  I wrote a blog post last month about it. I thought that perhaps, making it a bit more front-burner would be a good idea, both for me, and potentially others. I decided that I would dedicate the next 3 months at least to writing several posts a week (potentially one a day, but I don’t want to promise too much) on aspects of this project. I have tentatively named this project “Overlapping Magisteria.” I’ll describe why I’ve used that name in a subsequent blog post.

As I was thinking about what’s happening right now, not only in US politics, but in pretty much everything that’s happening in the world, I realized that it is a function of two key truths.

  • First, we human beings have the amazing capacity to live and create beyond the part of our brains designed (so incredibly well) to keep us alive, but we too often don’t. And it is crucial that we learn how to do this – or else things are going to get much worse.
  • And the second truth is that we have been taught by very wise people for literally thousands of years how to live and create beyond the part of our brains designed to keep us alive, and it’s only now that we’ve got some amazing tools to image the brain, we’ve begun to learn why that stuff works so well.

This project is actually going to take place in two places. Here will be the scientific, theological, political, and philosophical discussion and reflection. On my other site, called “Life As Practice” I’ll be posting specific practices from a variety of faith traditions designed to allow us to get out of our reptilian brains. Some of these practices have been shown by current science to have very specific effects on the brain. I’ll aim to post at least one of those per week, and I’ll be practicing them myself each week. (And, if you’d like to join, there’s a Slack team.)

I would love this to be a conversation. It doesn’t matter what your faith tradition – since this wisdom is found in all faith traditions. It doesn’t matter if you have no faith tradition, because there’s a heck-a lot of science, too. I’d love to hear your perspectives, your ideas, and your experiences. I’d love to hear how this is reflected in your life. I’d love to hear about your practices, and your wisdom.

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