September 27, 2006 |
OVER THE PAST few weeks, I've been reading the obituary column with more interest than ever. There was time I read only the front-page news, the columns, the letters to the editor, Stu Bykofsky - and never gave the obits even a glance. I guess I just didn't want to know more than I had to about death. But ever since my wife Esther died recently at 88, and left me by myself in our little Cape Cod, I've been thinking of how I would like my own obit to read when I die. The thing that interests me the most are the ages of those who died.
July 11, 2006 |
Live a good Left life in this true-blue city, and there's no limit to how high you can rise. Well, the height of the building sets a limit, or stone ceiling. These days you'll find Victor Navasky - editor and publisher emeritus of the Nation, Delacorte Professor at Columbia, director of the Delacorte Magazine Center, chairman of Columbia Journalism Review, author of the prize-winning A Matter of Opinion - nestled on the high-security eighth floor of Journalism, a historic Columbia building dedicated to freedom of information and openness.
April 22, 2006 |
The silence in an upstairs room at the Friends Center is so loud on this Saturday every sound seems amplified: the tap of raindrops on a window; a police siren outside; the tick-tock of a grandfather clock. Inside, six members of the Lilac Breeze Sangha meditation group seek internal peace and presence of mind. They sit still. They breathe slowly. They walk in a circle, as if in slow motion. This is the regular alternate-Saturday meeting of a meditation group started by Quakers and since joined by people from other faiths, or from none at all. The Lilac Breeze Sangha, which meets for 2 1/2 hours every other Saturday in Center City, is a meditation group that combines theology, practice and philosophy.
December 8, 2005 |
Here comes headache, here comes neck pain, right down Santa Claus Lane! Go ahead, sing along, because there's no getting around the fact that anxiety gets to us this time of year. According to the American Psychological Association, one in five of us reports that tension associated with the holiday season affects us physically. That cramp in your neck? A little gift to you, compliments of nervous driving on icy roads and shopping in overcrowded malls. That rum-pum-pum-pum of pain behind your eyes?
October 29, 2005 |
Think of the journey in three parts: the way in, the center, and the way out. Walking tip at a labyrinth Adhering to the path, mowed in narrow spirals through a suburban lawn, meant going back and forth and in and out and all around en route to the center. Gazing out 360 degrees, it was impossible to see the full contours of the walk in. They were visible in pieces, and as metaphors: A turn that had blocked a career, and opened another. The seed that had sprouted a family tree.
May 30, 2005 |
Arvind Saini goes through life at one speed: Overdrive. He was a triple major - zoology, South Asian studies, molecular biology - at the University of Wisconsin. Two weeks ago, he received a medical degree and an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania. But about midway through the five-year, joint-degree program, it hit him. He was burned out, so fixated on career goals that he'd lost himself. "I started asking . . . what am I racing against?" he recalled in a cell-phone interview as he crossed the Penn campus.
May 11, 2005 |
Twenty years ago, Diane Reibel suffered from chronic pain, swollen lymph nodes and bad headaches, but doctors had no idea what she had - or what to do about it. In desperation, Reibel, a scientist who studied the cardiovascular system, turned to meditation. "I was the most skeptical human being on the planet," she said, "but physical pain can drive you to do something you otherwise wouldn't. " Although doctors later determined that workplace chemicals were part of her problem, Reibel said she believes that meditation had - and continues to have - a profoundly positive effect on her physical and emotional well-being.
May 1, 2005
'I'm hit, man! I'm down!' 'Not my problem, brother' [One night in April 1969,] around midnight, mortar fire started to come in. It seemed that we were all ready to die. The feeling was more real this night than ever before. But one thing changed. I was the one hit! I was lying there. My M16 had shaken loose. My leg was numb. Men were running, and I looked up in the face of a white GI and shouted, "I'm hit, man! I'm down!" His response was, "That's not my problem, brother. " . . . I must have passed out because my next memory was a conversation that a Red Cross nurse had with me and being told that everything was going to be all right.
February 25, 2005 |
When the Flying Karamazov Brothers swooped into town with L'Universe a few years back, the wacky vaudevillians deconstructed Einstein's theories with a dizzying mix of juggling, live music and comic shtick. Back with a new high-energy show, Life: A Guide for the Perplexed - which coincidentally replaces Einstein's Dreams at the Prince Music Theater - the Brothers K serve up a zany meditation on midlife crisis, tailored to all ages. "We just found out we're coming back to Philly, and we're really excited," founding member Howard Patterson said via cell phone.
January 30, 2005 |
When tensions start to build, it might seem trivial to plop on a cushion and ponder the essence of nothingness. But practitioners of meditation say it is an ancient, time-tested method for relieving stress, solving conflict, and bringing inner happiness. It can even be used, they say, as a vehicle to disseminate positive thoughts and mental goodwill into a hope-starved world and, most recently, to victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami. Health professionals also tout meditation as a path to wellness and calm.