You can do it. I believe in you.

SunsetAll desire is suffering. We long for the things we don’t have, and the feeling that creates is emptiness. I want to be stronger. I want to live a long life. I want my children to be successful. I want to provide for my family. I want my wife and I to have a fulfilling relationship.

That longing, that desire, is looking beyond the present day. Looking into the future. It’s the same as looking back and wishing for change. I wish I focused more when I was in school. I wish I asked the pretty girl on a date. I should have taken that job offer. I should have been nicer to my friends.

It’s all a dream. Your view of the past and your view of the future you wish to be. It’s a fantasy world that will never exist exactly the way you want. It won’t be better. It won’t be worse. It will be different. It will just be.

Imagine the new iPad you want to buy. You don’t have it, and when you think about it, you feel longing. Emptiness that you want to fill. Or how about food? It’s only 11am and you’re already hungry for lunch. You want to fill that emptiness. Longing is suffering. Desire is longing.

All you can do is live in the present moment and be the best “you” possible. (There really is no “you”, but we’ll get to that anther time.) Live a loving life. Allow yourself to feel happiness. Be aware of the possibilities. Know that your children may one day go to college. Know that you may succeed in your job. Know that your relationship with your wife may be strong for the rest of your time on Earth. But don’t spend too much time on longing. Focus on the things you can do today to make the next day the best day possible. Center yourself. Look inward. Be strong. Be fulfilled.

You can do it. I believe in you.

Radical Transparency

Secret SocietyMany of my friends seem to be concerned about the recent updates to Facebook’s privacy policy. Facebook needs to know more about who you are and what you do online in order to offer new features that connect you closer to your online social sphere. But what else might they do with that information?

It’s a big, big question. Still, if you’re truly concerned, it’s a question you should have been asking for years. Dozens of apps and websites require similar permissions, and perhaps even more concerning: the US government (and local authorities) have been tracking you for decades. Credit card transactions, library cards, Internet history, email records, text and phone records, GPS pinpoints, EZ Pass transactions, red light cameras, the list truly goes on and on. Facebook is not going to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. That back was broken years ago.

Now what does the optimist think? Where’s the silver lining? Well here’s the strange thing: this whole information evolution could lead to the next stage of human development. What needs to happen, assuming the government knows everything about us, is that we need to be given the same level of exposure to the government’s secret life. Radical transparency. For everyone.

Who smokes marijuana? Who has sex with prostitutes? Who cheats on their spouse? Who flirts with coworkers? Who drives beyond the speed limit? Who exaggerates on their resume?

The answer? Nearly everyone does something that doesn’t align with their moral compass. And many people break laws that they think are unjust. Even cops and politicians and school teachers. We can’t punish or ostracize EVERYONE. Once radical transparency is a reality, hypocrisy would be exposed once and for all. We’d have an even playing field. And then we could really decide what matters. Do we really want to jail someone for walking on the sidewalk with an open container of alcohol? We’d have to reevaluate our culture’s laws and ethical limits.

Would that be better or worse than where we are now? If the only other option is to allow big brother to keep watching us, while keeping the rest of us in the dark, then I for one welcome radical transparency with open arms.

The solution for homelessness?

In eight years, Utah has quietly reduced homelessness by 78 percent, and is on track to end homelessness by 2015.

How did Utah accomplish this? Simple. Utah solved homelessness by giving people homes. In 2005, Utah figured out that the annual cost of E.R. visits and jail stays for homeless people was about $16,670 per person, compared to $11,000 to provide each homeless person with an apartment and a social worker. So, the state began giving away apartments, with no strings attached.

Read more here.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin quotes

Words to live by.

Love is the threshold of another universe.

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.

We only have to look around us to see how complexity and psychic temperature are still rising: and rising no longer on the scale of the individual but now on that of the planet.

A universal love is not only psychologically possible; it is the only complete and final way in which we are able to love.

A true story from my days in Richmond VA

IMG_0290One of my buddies lived in a rough part of town. A blue collar guy. A big, burly factory machinist who rides a motorcycle. He was home alone one day, taking a shower, when he heard some noise out in his living room. Someone was rummaging through his shit, knocking stuff over. Clearly a break-in.

He didn’t have time to think so he jumped out of the shower and grabbed the nearest weapon. A hammer that was on his dresser in the bedroom. He ran out into the living room all naked and hairy and wet, grunting while waving the hammer over his head like he was going to smash the guy’s skull.

The dude was terrified. A young-ish inner city thug. The kid took off running and screaming. Didn’t get a chance to steal anything. Huge win for my buddy.

Moral of the story: no matter your lot in life, don’t fuck with other peoples’ shit.