Monday, August 30, 2010

I sit, therefore....i'm sitting.

I finally got around to actually reading my copy of Shambhala Sun, which I think, since I've been feeling very much like a complete and total failure at my meditation practice, was put off because I am feeling so guilty. There's an article by Norman Fischer where he talks about reinvesting oneself in the practice and taking it slowly by giving oneself a two week trial. He has all these USEFUL tips like getting up earlier. (Really? Never thought of, hello, if I got up any earlier, i'd never be going to bed in the first place, but anyway).

And then, somewhere else in the issue there's another article where the author talks about the quality of the meditative experience. And I had an epiphany. Or rather, his wisdom became my epiphany (i'm never sure how that works). Anyhoo. I'm always waiting for something to sort of happen when I meditate (I know, I know, WRONG WRONG WRONG) but, truly, I'm sort of waiting for a "nothingness" to happen, since that's the point. Only I hardly ever get to nothingness, because I'm too busy quieting the mind. I get like a second of nothingness and then I'm back to wrestling with the walrus of worry. So, whoever it was (to whom I'm now not giving ample credit) said that just sitting IS meditating. That's it, he said, just sit there. Whatever happens while you're sitting IS your practice. That's why they call it practice. We're not supposed to get good, we're supposed to sit there and struggle and that's the point and that's just hunky dorey.

This takes all the pressure off for me. All I have to do is sit. I can sit. I'm sitting right now. I sit a lot. I can (generally) just sit still for 15 or 20 minutes. Yes! This I can do.

So, getting up this morning (earlier, sigh) to just sit, seemed, somehow, a little more do-able. I sat and I stayed awake and it was all good. Never mind that the walrus spent most of that time sharpening his tusks, there were a few good moments of just....nothing.

We're not really supposed to talk about our meditation practices. At least that's what Jon Kabat-Zinn says (and, clearly, he should know) but I'm writing about it in case anyone happens to be struggling with this pressure of expectation in their own meditations.

They say that 90% of success in life is "just showing up." I'm going to apply that to my practice and hope that 90% of success in meditation is "just sitting."

We shall see.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Maybe it's just me, but I really don't get wine tasting. Now, don't get me wrong. I LOVE wine. I love everything about it. I adore the fact that it has been a popular beverage for aeons...I mean, really, aside from water, what other libation has that kind of historical staying power? Nada my friends, nada!

I love the bottles, with the amazing array of label designs and the shiney little tops. I even like the indentions on their cute little bottoms. I like the cardboard cases wine comes in, with their snappy little dividers and even more so, I love (and have a basement full of recycled) wooden wine boxes with all those special markings and codes and fancy words in foreign languages.

I could devote an entire page to the trials and tribulations of opening the bottles (which I have FINALLY mastered, thank you, after years of having to retreat back to the kitchen to stick the darned bottle between my knees in order to get enough leverage to get the cork out.....not a hit tableside just FYI) and tales of broken cork woe. I love wine glasses. Thick, squat glasses, impossibly delicate supermodelesque glasses, the short glasses they use at my tapas place.

I'm a sucker for ritual (clearly), of which the wine world is chock full. But when it comes to the actual drinking thereof, I guess I'm a bit of a abecedarian. You know, a dilettante, a bush leaguer.

I divide my wines into three categories; good enough, yummy and only lucky enough to be drinking this because someone else is paying. I procure most of my wine at Whole Foods simply because they have that nifty "Value" section where nothing costs more than $10(And, truth be known, I try to keep it below $5 because I just cannot justify the expense currently). I suspect I'd be a Trader Joe's devotee as well, only they're just not close enough for me to shop there regularly. Ironically, the wine at Whole Foods is cheaper than just about anything else they carry, so I have to hustle in there, with my blinders on, grab the bottle and try not to be swayed by those delicious Spanish almonds, or those sexy molten lava chocolate cakes on my way out.

I don't keep a wine journal, or a wine log. I'd like to pretend that I do, or believe that I would, but, honestly, I can't even keep track of my children at the moment, so I sure as hell can't keep track of which wine I liked best. And this is why spending a Saturday or a Sunday afternoon at a winery tasting wines I cannot afford and will never remember seems about as logical as reactivating my application with the foreign service. (Hmmmm, actually, the later is probably more likely)

Not to mention the fact that I'm a bit of a blood-alcohol-content lightweight and drinking in the afternoon wipes me out, and I don't have the luxury to be able to burn a day like that.

Point in case, Whole Foods (chez moi, at least) has this Fridays at Five thing they do to support local charities. For five dollars, you get to visit five food and wine "stations' around the store on a Friday night. This seemed a little pretentious to me, so I'd never bothered, but last Friday I happened to be in there (to pick up a $3.99 cabernet to go with dinner) and a girlfriend, whose charity was the benefitee of the event, strong armed me into ponying up a fin and giving it a go.

Well, not only was I full by the time I got through all of the stops, I was halfway to lit right up, too. Good GRIEF! Five different wines, including a Prosecco (I do love me some bubbles under the right circumstances), all of which were great, but four of them were not on the Value shelf and none of them can I even remember any longer, so short of catching a buzz and not having to cook dinner when I got home, it was wasted on me. (no pun intended)

Wine is at the top of my "Good and Good For Ya!" list of life's little necessities, but I guess I'm just a utilitarian wine drinker at heart. Like my edict to only purchase clothes from Goodwill and Salvation Army this year, I'm as close to drinking bargain basement wine as you can get. If they made recycled wine, I'd be first in line I suspect.

The area where I live is full of vineyards and wine tasting is big business here. I have friends who go "tasting" all the time, but it really just makes no sense to me. For the price of one, I can buy three, prop my feet up on the coffee table, get my son to operate the remote so that I can watch a movie and voila, I'm happy as a lark with my mason jar full of cabernet de something or other. Munching on almonds. (Sometimes the blinders work better than others.)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Black Hole

Cygnus X-1 is a black hole. Anything that goes into a black hole stays there, never to be seen again. Kind of like my daughter's closet, or our garage, or like my paycheck, which totally seems to evaporate the minute it hits my checking account.

Turns out Cygnus X-1 was discovered the year before I was born (if you care enough you can go look that up and do your own math) and remains the "most studied" black hole out there. It has a mass of about 8 times that of the Sun.

Truth be known, I began college as an enthusiastic physics major. Until I took a physics course and realized that I was wuuuuhaaaaaaay out of my league. I resorted to a degree in politics ultimately, which, ironically, is also a black hole of a completely different nature.

Last night my son was talking about Wyclef Jean's run for the Haitian presidency. "The thing in his favor" parroted my son "is that he isn't a politician!" Not being a fan of letting my children get away with reiterating someone else's (potentially flawed) logic without having thought it through for themselves first, I said "Really? What's wrong with being a politician?" "Well," he said "they're all just so, so......" Mmmmhmmmm. We discussed what politics really are, and I pointed out to him that we are all politicians in our daily lives. Politics is the exercise of power. Webster calls it "the total complex of relations between people living in a society."

I explained to him that he is his own politician, advocating for what he wants in life. He has a political stake in decisions we make as a family, decisions made in his school, with his friends, etc. Depending on any given situation he has a certain amount of power, as do we all, to make or sway a decision. I bite my tongue but roll my eyes when people say things like "I hate politicians!" Because, really, everyone has an agenda, and inherent in that, by definition, is the struggle for power that is politics. I assure you Wyclef Jean has an agenda, and I'm not so sure it's one that would benefit Haiti in the long run, but that's for Haitians to decide. I have an agenda, and so do you.

Of course by "politics" people usually mean "government" and all that connotes. But, truly, politics does not have to be a black hole, into which our opinions and desires are sucked, never to be see again.

The 10 years I spent actively working in politics burned me out, opened my eyes and left me with a faint metalic taste in my mouth, mostly because of the distortion of truth I witnessed and the exhaustion from the effort level required to keep up, but I have rediscovered political involvement at a very small, local level. For example, the PTA is a political organization, hell, even our marching band boosters club is a political subset of our PTA. Writing a letter to the editor about the insanity of building a new bypass is a political act.

It's okay, people, to get involved with politics! You don't have to march on Washington, though I encourage you to do so, or stroke a big check for your congressman, ditto, if you think he's doing a great job and want to see him/her keep doing it, but if something matters to you, then do something about it. The minute you give money to a charity, say the Red Cross, or the United Way or your homeless shelter, you've become an active participant in their political process, and there is nothing wrong with that because that's how we navigate our own social solar system.

Why, even the simple act of complaining is political. If you don't like the way something is being done, and you exercise your right to say so, you've taken a political stand. I wish more people would, respectfully, take the next step, which is to get involved in creating solutions. Let's escape the gravitational pull of our own apathy and exercise our own inherent power to discuss the challenges and create change. You don't have to be a rock start or an astrophysicist. You just have to have a little passion about something.

Soul Sisters

I am the quintessential big sister. The oldest of four, I am pushy and nosey and bossy and quick to point out how things should be done. I am a quick draw with the planning and organization six shooters and I wear my gun belt with pride.

No one points out to the oldest child that they are in charge, they just are. They're born that way. I'm sure I popped out of the womb with a list pad and a pencil and immediately began taking inventory of my surroundings and probably had a play group planned by the end of the first week.

While on vacation this summer with my family, my mother, my sister and her family we all got to musing about our childhood. My mother remarked, referring to me, "Well, I couldn't legitimately put you in charge of your sister because you were barely two years older, but by the time your brothers were born I definitely expected and depended on you to tend to the flock." And there it was… my marching orders from an early age. I hadn't imagined it, or cast myself in the role of supreme commander; someone else had done it for me. I was off the hook! See? Mom MADE me do it! Ha!

And yet, being in charge isn't all it is cracked up to be. Most of the time no one listened (all that nagging), and then I was stuck with two unenviable choices; doing it myself or getting in trouble. Because oldest children are also born pleasers, you can guess which route I chose. As it turns out, oldest children are mostly bluff and bluster anyway, and deep down we are very sensitive and just want everyone to like us, which doesn't happen because we HAVE to be bossy to get things done. Woe is the oldest child.

Little sisters, on the other hand, have the best of both worlds. From a big sister's vantage, they don't have nearly the responsibility and they always have an out with "I'm the LITTLE sister." And yet, little sisters reap the windfall. They are clever and quick, they see things coming, they learn from the mistakes of others and they weave a shorter path to their destinations as a result. They don't belabor the point. They don't have to explain. They are free birds flying low under the radar.

These roles my sister and I played as children lasted well into our teens, until we'd both gone to college and began living our lives for ourselves. But as we continued to age the lines got blurry. Older? Younger? Wiser? My sister is braver, more creative, and more sensitive to others. She's a deeper thinker. I'm more outgoing, more social, and more obsessive. And we both have our challenges. As the seasons change so too have our roles. I need her advice, she needs mine. I need the "stiff upper lip lecture", she needs the "let go and trust the universe" lecture. It is symbiosis at it's finest, both flowers nurtured in the same soil and sharing the same sun, we are better, together, at attracting bees and raindrops, even when the together is symbolic because of our thousand mile separation.

I got to see this mirrored in action with my sister's girls while we were together this summer. Five and seven they are as different as the moon and sun, most likely, as my sister and I once were. The oldest plows her way through the day, getting to be first, but also being the first to take the bumps. In the garden of life, she is like a giant sunflower, bright and bouncy, impossible to overlook, her petals wide open to possibility, but dropping seeds in her wake. The youngest is more of an orchid. Quiet and shy, seemingly delicate yet surprisingly stalwart, she waits for her time to bloom and then surprises everyone with her intricacy and tenacity.

"Mommy, why, if Auntie is older than you are, is she shorter?" Her youngest daughter asked last week. "Well," said my sister "sometimes that's the way it goes, and really it doesn't matter who is taller or shorter. Even when she is 102 I'll still be younger, but I'll be 100 and that will make us both just really really old."

I hope we live to be 100 together. Little old ladies in rocking chairs on a sunny porch somewhere, staring out at the sea, rendered as indistinguishable as twins then by our wrinkles, sisters by birth and friends for life.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Home again and gratefully so

Things you do NOT want to hear your pilot say:

"OOOPS, Sorry about that folks, we got a little too close to that airplane ahead of us. I'm just going to swing her around and try that landing again!"

Really? Because I already don't love flying so much that I occasionally force complete strangers sitting next to me to hold my hand during takeoff and landing (b/c that's when you stand the greatest chance of crashing, and I reason that at least I won't die alone, someone, anyone will be holding my hand)and that didn't really help.

And, oh, just for the record, I noticed something was "up," dear Captain, b/c of the Gs you pulled banking right that caused my drink to land in my lap. But that's cool, I managed to live to see another day and I'm grateful for that, so thanks for the reminder.

I'm grateful for a lot of things, and stood in my bedroom last night upon my return and consciously thanked the universe for its many blessings this week. Thankful for the safe travels, the beautiful weather, the harmonious family time, everyone's good health, and the ability to be conscious of all of those things as they unfolded.

I have a million things to do suddenly, errands to run, bills to pay, shelves to stock, school schedules to fix, supplies to purchase, missed miles to run, blogs to write and, oh, right, work to catch up on....but it's all good. I will try to do all these things while hanging on to my groovy vacationed bliss state of mind remembering the very recent feel of beach beneath my feet and cool, dry sunshine on my skin as I leaned out over the ferry railing to wave goodbye to what always feels like a completely different planet out West.

Monday, August 9, 2010

So I discovered that Pop Tart is opening a retail outlet in Times Square. I'm sure "retail outlet" does not do it justice, as it appears to be part museum, part snack bar, part theme park. But in any event, it made me happy. I LOVE PopTarts.

To quote:

The focal point of the store, which opens Tuesday, is the cafe. It will serve about 30 snacks and desserts.

The menu includes the Fluffer Butter, marshmallow spread sandwiched between two Pop-Tarts frosted fudge pastries; the Sticky Cinna Munchies, cinnamon rolls topped with cream-cheese icing and chunks of Pop-Tarts cinnamon-roll variety; and Ants on a Log?, which is celery, peanut butter and chunks of the Wild Grape version.

And then there’s the Pop-Tarts Sushi, three kinds of Pop-Tarts minced and then wrapped in a fruit roll-up. “We did an internal tasting here at the building, and it was the winner,” said Etienne Patout, senior director at the Pop-Tarts brand, part of the Kellogg Company.

Wowie Kazowie! Pop Tart Sushi?!!?! This is everything horrible and wonderful that I love about America all rolled up (no pun) into one! I love the unadulterated celebration of a product that, really, hardly even qualifies as FOOD and yet, is marketed as a breakfast meal without any sort of embarrasment on the part of Kellog. There is NOTHING about PopTarts that is good for you, and, sorry if this is any sort of spoiler alert, but PopTarts are actually bad for you. "Toaster Pastries" Really? Pastries are not good for you. The only good part of that is the "toaster" I suppose, but we all know that the whole point of putting the tart into the toaster in the first place is so that you can spread butter on it when it emerges piping hot. It may actually be a toss up which is worse for you, Hot Pockets or Pop Tarts and that is just not saying much now, is it?

But that's okay, because in America we can pretend this this information is somehow both shocking and maybe, just not even true, and we can proceed with the party hats and streamers because, PopTarts taste good and dammit, they are just really really fun!

I, am a PopTart purist, preferring the unfrosted fruit tarts (blueberry and strawberry and cherry, though I no longer seem to be able to find the unfrosted cherry anywhere), I think the frosting is really just gilding the lily, if you will, so I don't see the point.

I have, back in the day, actually served PopTarts as an appetizer and as an hors'd'oeurve....they're just so cute and handy, in their foil wrappers. Oh, and we know that they come in two packs, right, because you can't eat just ONE! Come on now. That's just silly. You'd have to put the other one in a baggie or something and then it just looses all of it fancy freshness.

In the face of staggering obesity statistics in this country, I want to commend Kellogg for this feat of marketing genius. Diabetes be dammed, I want to build my own PopTart Sundae....and I want to build it NOW!!!!

Friday, August 6, 2010


I need to learn how to surrender. This is a big theme in my life and a huge challenge for me. Wired for tightly wrapped codependency, I fight this yin yang moment-to-moment battle with myself about, well, everything.

Deciding that I needed to get a few easy wins under my belt I have begun by officially surrendering to sensible footwear. And let me just say, no one in my office seems to be very happy with this decision.

I am training for a marathon, to wit, everything from the bellybutton down kind of, well, hurts, most of the time. I say this not to garner sympathy. This is not a Bhutan death marathon into which I am being forced, I freely and willingly am subjecting myself to the significant pounding required to try to pull off this feat. No, I just say that to set the stage and explain, should you be walking down the stairs with me, what that odd crunching and snapping is (it is coming from my knees).

In any event, I am at work today, and for the second time this week I am sporting the shoes above.

I realize that I am late to the Keen craze. I only purchased these b/c I found then in the 70% off corner. But I do see, now, what all the fuss is about, because they are wicked comfy, however, I feel like I should run down the hall in these shoes hollering "YABBA DABBA DOOOOOO!"

Really, there's just nothing even borderline cute or "officey" about these. They could only be considered professionally appropriate if I worked for EMS, REI, Patagonia or guiding tourists down a river somewhere, which I certainly do not.

However, my feet hurt, my knees hurt, my hips hurt, and there's something in my butt that hurts .... I think it is my piriformis, which I didn't know I had until it started a snarky conversation with me recently.

In any event, I hereby surrender to the need to keep my feet from falling off the ends of my legs until I get through this whole thing in November. I surrender to the need to protect what's left of my knee cartilage and my hip bones.

Henceforth and furthermore I will wear these and other hideous, but comfortable, shoes whenever the hell I want. I will wear them with my cute little skirts and my cute little pants and I might even wear them with a cute little dress or two (so there you mean lady in Legal and both of you 20somethings in Reseaerch) and I will be okay with my decision. I will not be sidetracked by your snide derision and your not even remotely veiled looks of disdain at my toes as I walk towards you.

I will march onward, a proud citizen of Bedrock, bolstered by my 2" polyester webbing and quick draw elastic lacing system. I shall sally forth supported by my metatomical EVA molded foot bed. The non marking rubber out soles will stabilize me with their steady grip and antimicrobial protection.

I will just assume that when the website described these Keens as "ideal for sun filled days by the pool or beach" that they copywriter just forgot the last part of the sentence..... "or to your office to prove once and for all that you have nothing to prove."


I just love this. Truly. Can we all just settle down and try to be a little nicer to each other? I won't pee on your cheerios, you don't pee on mine.
I promise to work a little harder to just be nice. Who is with me?

Thursday, August 5, 2010


No, I do not want to fix that for you.
No, I do not want to pick that up for you.
No, I do not want to go there and do that.
No, I do not want to NOT do something that I really wanted to do just because you don't want me to do it.
No, that is not acceptable to me.
No, I'm not kidding.

Mmmmmmmmmmm. Feels GOOD!

Do over

Dear Universe,

I would officially like to have a do-over for last night. Here's why:

It approached a triple digit heat index yesterday. The air was literally soupy, and so, instead of heading home and running the requisite mileage on my to-do list, I worked late, got home late, and immediately poured a glass of wine. (Just to make sure I wasn't tempted at the last minute to run anyway). After reassuring my hounds that they were still the center of my universe, I heated up up some delicious leftovers and proceeded to spread the flesh of my butt out as wide as possible in the comfiest chair in my living room in front of netflix. (I should mention here that I was HOME ALONE. A*L*O*N*E* This never happens to me. It's like a freaking gift from God to know that I have hours of ME TIME where I can do whatever ridiculous thing I want without being made fun of or given a hard time. Kids are OOT and husband was at a concert about an hour away. WHOOOPEEEEEEE! So, the "do whatever I want," last night, was to watch British historical docudramas with reckless abandon)

About 40 minutes in to Pillars of the Earth (oh yes, it doesn't get any more historically drama-ey than THAT!) I looked outside and realized that the entire Western horizon was black. Not black because it was nite-nite time, black because perhaps it was the apocalypse....or a tornado and either way I contemplated heading for the basement to hide from the winged horsemen or flying cows. Instead I whipped up the internet to confirm that it was weather VS apocalypse (because had it been the later I had a few quick calls to make) only to lose power after briefly seeing a purpley line of storms on the radar. The power also fizzled out during the first sex scene between Tom the Builder and that "no I'm not a witch" female lead whose name escapes me.


I hung around, hopefully, through thunder and lightening hoping the power would return. Only it did not. Giving up around 8:45, I headed to bed, only to discover that without power, the triple digit heat index had somehow found its way into my bedroom. I was so hot that I stuck to the sheets. I opened the window, to at least create the illusion of a breeze, but I wasn't fooling anyone.

The strange thing, when the power goes out, is how quiet the neighborhood becomes. Spooky, really. Why was everyone being so quiet? I knew we all had to have our windows open. Was everyone else just lying naked and nauseous in their beds like I was? I pondered the image of all my neighbors lying stickily on top of their sheets praying for power. This did not help me sleep at all, but somehow I dozed off eventually, only to be awakened by the dogs barking b/c the man was home.

At first this made me (somehow) even grumpier because it had only gotten hotter, and I could hear him crashing around downstairs which was anti-sleep inducing for me. Fortunately I resisted yelling at him, because seconds later he appeared with a fan, and a power cord, one end of which he promptly tossed out of the bedroom window and then disappeared again. More crashing and then an odd clicking and then whirring sound on our deck followed by a very loud engine noise. The fan sprung to life. Like a phoenix from the flame of my despair, my husband had started the generator.

Praise be to Allah and all that is Holy! Momentarily concerned that the neighbors would revolt, kill us and take the generator (mostly because it is so loud) I was overwhelmingly comforted by the cool feeling of drying sweat on my skin and I put the worry from my mind.

Unfortunately, the generator could not power the tv, the wii and net flix, however, so, Lord, may I please try that all over again tonight, only this time, hold off on the thunderbolts and lightning until Tom and the Witch are post-coital and I am sound asleep? Thank you and Amen.

Swimming for our lives

As a kid, did you spend your summers at the pool (or by the river or around a lake)? I sure did, and it was great. The first twelve years of my life were spent on an island, and my parents were sailors, so, clearly, water was a huge part of what we did. Later, when we moved to the states and became land locked, we always had some sort of access to a pool or lake and spent as much time as possible swimming and splashing, floating in tubes, hurling ourselves off the diving board and just generally carrying on. We had an abundance of water and we all knew how to swim in it.

Competitive swimming is a big thing where I live. My children did a brief stint on swim team, as did I as a child. It's a great way to keep kids busy, fit, and get free swimming lessons. As I drive to work in the morning, the sidewalks are full of kids in suits with towels headed for their obligatory laps.

Later in life, swimming came in handy as I spent more time sailing, kayaking, and eventually, triathloning. I'm no Mark Spitz (he was MY hero back in the day) but I can hold my own and crank out a mile straight without too much trouble. And I completely take it for granted.

When I turned on the news yesterday and read the story about the 9 children in Louisiana who drowned in a river while they were picnicking with their families, and who literally, disappeared under the water in front of their families eyes, my heart just broke. In fairness, people drown all the time. Asia seems to have its fair share of overcrowded ferry accidents where hundreds of people go down in one fell swoop. Toddlers wander away from campsites every summer and are inevitably pulled from the depths later in the day to the anguished wailing of their parents. Boats go down, surfers occasionally hit their heads and never resurface. A triathlete drowned just recently in Philadelphia. He went into the lake and just never came back out.

When I was a child, on the island, my mother organized a Girl Scout troop for me and my friends. At some point, she must have realized that most of the little girls I went to school with there could not swim. And so, because she is who she is, my mother organized swimming lessons for everyone. I cannot remember if she did all the teaching, I think not, because in my hazy memory there are other adults present. The experience culminated, however, in a boat trip for all of us, out to a smaller island where there was a beautiful beach, sandy shore and shallow water, where everyone practiced swimming together. I remember sitting on the side benches in a boat with my friends, everyone in life jackets laced up tightly to their chins, some excited, and some anxious or just plain terrified as we headed out to sea.

As with most things we learn in life, the fear we feel because we don't know how to do something is far more challenging to conquer than whatever the skill happens to be. Swimming is an easy thing to learn....especially in a pool, where you can touch and see the bottom and with a little help from a patient instructor. Access to this resource, a lack of desire and or lack of encouragement keeps many many people from ever learning even the simplest of dog paddling techniques.

Sometimes the drowning is inevitable. Even strong swimmers drown because the circumstances just dictate that is the way it is going to end. But how different the outcome might have been in Louisiana if everyone had had a few swimming lessons.

It must be Buddha week....

Thank you, Magazine of Yoga, for indulging me yet again:

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Spiritual Plurality

I love the Dalai Lama. I am blessed to have had the opportunity to see him and hear him speak in what was a very small venue a few years ago in my home town. As he is a major spiritual leader I am clearly not alone, in liking His Holiness, but was surprised to discover that 757,625 other people “like” the Dalai Lama on his Facebook page. It turns out that’s almost twice as many people as the 478,722 who have “friended” God on his page.

Upon further investigation, 2,300 folks are fans of the Buddah, and of course
Jesus has a page, but hasn’t nearly the fan base I would have suspected, while over 3 million people have friended the I love Allah page. Why, even Mary Baker Eddy, founder of Christian Science has a page boasting 224 friends.

Clearly, there’s a little something for everyone on the Internet. It made me wonder about the effect that the internet has had on religion. I have to assume that the global access to theology has to have contributed to an increase in pluralism of faith. Has it made us more tolerant, more open and accepting, or has it just given us another venue to bumpersticker, if you will, our own set of beliefs.

I read somewhere, recently, that of people who consider themselves to be “church goers,” 40% have actively shopped around for a new church, as opposed to what was originally a teeny percentage of folks who would ever consider doing so.

Is it about finding the “right” religion, though, or are we, as Americans (because I cannot make assertions about other cultures), just becoming perhaps a little more spiritual. As more of us are exposed to more faiths, more holy leaders, more points of view, thanks to our cyber lives, are we realizing that somewhere in the middle of all of these doctrines is, indeed, a universal truth which we all can access and agree upon?

“I believe an important distinction can be made between religion and spirituality. Religion I take to be concerned with faith in the claims to salvation of one faith tradition or another. Spirituality I take to be concerned with qualities of the human spirit, love and compassion, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, contentment, a sense of responsibility, a sense of harmony, that bring happiness both to self and others. “ (HHDL)