Confucianism’s Progressive Respect*


Confucianism is not a philosophy, not a social system, not a Way, but a religion at whose center is an all-powerful, loving God who engendered an order-seeking universe. This godly force is symbolized by the character Tien, which is often translated as “Heaven.”  Confucius sought to translate the law of God into the law of […]

In Closing

About a week ago I finished reading Helen Macdonald’s “H is for Hawk,” a book ostensibly about falconry, but actually about grief and how it takes time and human contact to overcome it. Days after I read the passage above, which to me is the book’s crescendo despite the almost 150 unnecessary pages that follow, […]

The Way of Smallness

I never had a crush on any of my high school or college professors. There is no writer that I’ve dreamt of stalking. Deep down, J.M. Coetzee’s thin, tragic eyes give me the chills, and Jeffrey Sachs’s boyish, world-saving smile is just too pure. But, I’ve always had a thing for New York Times columnist David Brooks. […]

How It Sounds

  I was quite surprised last Sunday when a few readers wrote me asking how the mantra I posted that day is supposed to sound.  So, I did something I normally avoid at all costs, sing out loud. Here is a recording of me saying the mantra. I learned it to a lovely rhythm, which […]

Mantra for the Divine Momma

   In honor of Mother’s Day, I wanted to share a mantra that invokes all the abundance of the Divine Mother, the female energy of joy, spontaneity and creativity.  This is a mantra whose practice dissolves fear and negative thought patterns.  Lather, rinse and repeat. For at least forty days and forty nights for best […]

Making the Bhagavad Gita Work for You

After years of yoga, retreats and sessions with spiritual teachers, I was finally motivated to read the Bhagavad Gita, one of the oldest and most relevant Hindu texts ever written. Religious reading is hard. It is slow. It can even, at times, be boring.  But the Bhagavad Gita is an action-packed tale that gets to the point […]

Bikram Love Triangle

Five minutes late to class and we got spots, spots apart. But, a mirrored column in front, so we could check each other out.  I watched you get hot in Ardha-Chandrasana, as you poured your head between short, upstretched arms. Then cut a sweat with the six hip Utkatasana dips, but by then, you were […]

You’re It

As the end of the year approaches, I wanted to share a poem with a spiritual dimension. But, as the piece I selected is particularly Californian in its brand of spirituality, it is playful, mystical and non-denominational. Indeed, it might even be considered hippie-ish. It is an easy  poem to keep in one’s head while one […]

Buddha Books

The bookshelves at my new meditation center in my newly new hometown of Miami. Way back when, I went to middle and high school here. And, because life likes to remind us who’s in charge, the meditation center is, of course, directly across the street from my former high school. Happy Columbus Day weekend, Americas!

No Wrong Questions

Last night I went to a lecture on the moral limits of a market economy presented by Michael Sandel, which was part of the Hay Festival in Cartagena. Professor Sandel teaches one of the most popular courses at Harvard University. It’s called “Justice” and it’s about how to decide what is right and what is […]

Life Things

  The writing has left it rests far away when it was close it was closer but not as close as far when far away   There is still life yes a baby still new a father still sick a master unhere   I watch these life things gather height the in held breath of avalanche […]

Religion in a rush

I am probably wrong about this, but I’ve been avoiding the movie version of Yann Martel’s Life of Pi. Yes, the book is great, as are all those that receive the Man Booker Prize. But it traps you in a lifeboat with a tiger for hundreds of pages. This is very hard work, even for the […]

The Thing with Warhol & Watts

Sometimes I feel the Universe picks my reading lists for me. Like when I read Mrs. Dalloway after Ulysses, not knowing the first was inspired by the second.  Or when I got The God of Small Things at an airport on my way to, of all places, Kerala.  And so it is that I read The Philosophy […]

You’re it

  Alan Watts, The Book. Read Spain 2013   Related articles In My Own Way – Alan Watts ( No, wonder ( Society, A Perpetual Cycle [Alan Watts] ( Alan Watts – “Creating Who You Are” (

Failures of kindness

As a former magazine writer, I am not a big fan of “articles.” Most pieces call to mind an editor and a deadline both looming large. But for my last Zeteo is Reading post of the week, I am going to do an almost article. It’s a reprint published in The New York Times of writer George Saunders’ […]

Beautiful baby fear

A few days ago, my son turned seven months. Since then, I’ve been rereading passages from Marilynne Robinson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Gilead. It’s about many big things – religion, death, separation, love. But, to me, it is about a dying father who makes sense of his life by writing about it. In doing so, he […]

Truth from any source

Four excerpts from The Marriage Plot. Jeffrey Eugenides. Read Cartagena, March 2013

God Blog

  Blogging is a real religion. It is how I feel small but connected to the big, to the unknown, to the better than I, to that life after I die.   It is how I beg to be liked by being good.   Written 2013