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Thoughts on Living Well – Philosophy, Spirituality, Culture

Thoughts on Living Well – Philosophy, Spirituality, Culture
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Toronto, Ontario


Thoughts on Living Well – Philosophy, Spirituality, Culture








The Honor Code

The Honor Code - Having an ethical code can see one through the ups and downs of life. Rather than be reacting to every event, comment, concern etc. it is valuable to have a code that grounds one in an uplifting mindset. Get the PDF here: Leading With Honor


Assessing Politicians

How I assess the quality of a political figure (or lack thereof) is the subject of this podcast. I have a template that I use for judging a public figure and I have found it helpful in almost all cases. Please feel free to use it and modify it as you see fit. (I live in Canada, so some of my political content is focused on my home country.)



Churches are ideal places of solace and peace. It does not matter what one believes or doesn't believe. Churches are ideal for simply walking into a space of peace. The inner urge towards truth, the desire for deeper connection with others, the angst experienced in the face of suffering, the pull towards a deep, tranquil reality; all these are at the core of many people. The content, tradition, rituals, concepts, etc. are of far less importance than the inner urge itself. What matters is...


Meditation and the Philosophy of Freedom

In political philosophy, I consider myself a libertarian or classical liberal. This podcast outlines how I came to the ideas of freedom via the inner work of meditation. It's a route that is not usual in political circles, and I thought it was worth talking about as it highlights a consistent relationship between the inner spiritual life and outer political life.


My Political Lesson from Apollo 8

When I was 12 years old, I learned a valuable lesson from a most unexpected source, the Apollo 8 mission to the moon. These days, the lesson seems most appropriate given the brewing battles between those who want globalized dominance via the United Nations and those who want to maintain a sovereign state. It is a lesson that stayed with me all these years, even though almost no one I know shares this view and both sides of this debate can distort for their own ends. Sometimes, I wish I was...



There are a variety of spiritual concepts that are used by the different traditions. Like many of you, I have found many of them quite interesting, especially those that relate to our purpose here. The debates about spiritual reality, metaphysics, energy, the afterlife, reincarnation, and a host of others are endless and have filled libraries. What use would there be in rehashing any of these unless one had something to add to the discussion that was truly helpful? As always, the approach I...


Ideas Behind Conflicts in the West

This is a challenging podcast, one that I debated publishing. It evolved from some reading I've been doing about the current conflicts playing out in the news. As I read, I came across four primary philosophical assumptions about the west. I think they pinpoint some core ideas that are contentious and form the background for much of the debates around immigration, race, identity, and moral obligations. These may be worth thinking about because the question I hope you will consider is, are...


Poems of My Heart – Juan Chi (210-263)

This is the first set of poems from a small book I discovered in a used bookstore called "Poems of Solitude". It features poetry from medieval China, roughly 220 a.d. While the cultural setting is far removed from our own place and time, there is something universally human about expressing the feeling of being alone and watching the world.


Wisdom, Virtue, Happiness

I recently joined Blinkist, a site that offers condensed versions of books for people who love ideas but lack time. And these versions are usually available as audiobooks, which is ideal for me. Today, I talk about some recent ideas on the relationship between wisdom, virtue, and happiness from 2 seemingly disparate authors - Arthur Schopenhauer and Adam Smith.


Encountering Ideas – A Walking and Talking Experiment

I try to walk every day. This is especially important as one gets older. My walks are a time of reflection and allowing the mind to meander around ideas, thoughts, concepts etc. I thought it would be interesting to see what would happen if I plugged in the headset and thought out loud. The downside is the traffic and wind noise. If this approach seems worthwhile, I can look into ways of muffling the noise. We shall see. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_Nietzsche


Health Challenges About Aging

Like all who are getting older, I cannot escape the changes that occur physically. But the inner psychological and spiritual changes are, in some ways, more challenging. As the body starts to show signs of decline, one has to adjust expectations, desires, hopes, and fears. Chief among these are health and mortality. Here are some of my thoughts about health and aging.


Motivation in Life

I recently listened to a podcast on philosophy. In it was posed a question about one's motivation in life that really got me thinking. Here are those thoughts.


Valuing the Story of the Fall

The Old Testament story of the fall of humanity contains one of the best lessons we can carry with us through life. That of our imperfection. For those who don't know the story, I've linked the Wikipedia entry below. Biblical stories are subject to a variety of interpretations, ranging from literal acceptance of them as being about real people and events, to fully psychological treatments that delve into theories of mental states and conditions. At the risk of sounding dismissive, I am more...


How I Learned Meditation

Even though I have been practicing meditation for over 30 years, I am not a guru. I continue to learn about real inner peace every day. This journey began when I was 18 upon reading a book called "Psycho-Cybernetics" by Maxwell Maltz. In it he talked about the power of the mind to make changes in one's life. This was pretty intoxicating to an 18 year old. The idea of being more powerful by simply using the mind was an amazing possibility and so I started reading more about techniques and...



Of all the things which the wise man seeks to acquire to produce the happiness of a complete life, by far the most important is the possession of friendship. - Epicurus Principle Doctrine 27 Among my philosophical fascinations is Epicureanism. Not the "eat, drink, and be merry" notion that has historically been attributed to it, but the serious philosophy that thrived for over 600 years in ancient Greece and Rome. I wrote about it briefly in the article "Advice from Epicurus". Today I want...


How to Meditate

There are many websites, books, teachers, schools, and organizations that promote their own brand of meditation. So what I offer here is my distillation of several methods. My suggestion is to start here and learn from your direct actual experience. These instructions are designed to guide you through the daily formal sitting meditation. This is a classic approach that is offered by virtually all traditions. It’s main value lies in building the habit of meditating every day for a period of...



The seemingly contradictory nature of inner life can feel like a confusing landscape. This short reading presents the experience of sometimes feeling and thinking one way, and then another. In meditation we become aware of this but rather than suppress it, we observe and detach from it.


Living in Miraculous Times

Every once in a while I am struck by my surroundings as amazing and miraculous. It is easy to overlook these things in the endless disagreements and crises on display. But sometimes it helps to take a wider view of human ingenuity and creativity.


The 48 Laws of Power

"We live in tumultuous times." Indeed, this statement could've and was uttered repeatedly down the centuries. Of course the time in which one is living is thought to be more tumultuous than previous ones. I can almost hear the refrain, "oh yes, those times were chaotic, frightening, filled with anxiety etc., but this time it's different because....." The common thread of all the upheavals in history has been the balance or imbalance of power. Those who wield it generally want to keep it and...