Monday, July 27, 2009

Choosing Homelessness

Increasingly I am hearing stories of men who have chosen homelessness as a way of life. Just the other day I wrote about a man who chooses to live in a cave in Utah. Today on NPR I was struck by the story of Richard Leroy Rogers who died with an estate worth $4 million, and yet he lived his retirement years without a permanent home. As one acquaintance said about him, "He just gave up all of the material things that we think we have to have," Belle says. "You know, I don't know how we gauge happiness. What's happy for you might not be happy for me. I never heard him complain."

I can imagine that having $4 million dollars makes living homeless less tense. But maybe not. He had very few possessions. He used his money minimally. Perhaps the fear that I imagine underpins homelessness is dismantled by facing life in each moment. After all, fear can underpin a life filled with possessions just as well.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Living without Money

Truth be told, I've often admired the Swiss Family Robinson-Gilligan's Island idealized notion of living without money in a deserted place. The romanticized version of this becomes all the more potent when you throw into the mix spiritual devotion as a motive, like the desert mothers and fathers.

Here is the story of a man who is living without money in a cave in Utah. He lives alone with other creatures who also inhabit the cave. And he doesn't live completely as a recluse. He has friends down in the town; he uses the public library for internet access (he writes a blog). He acknowledges there are hardships, and those hardships are a good thing.

What are your thoughts about this?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Roman Nativity

Photograph: Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images

When I lived in Rome I discovered that Romans know how to make many things beautiful. Here workers have placed a nativity scene inside a bulldozer during the holiday. I can see it as kitchy and I can see it as incredibly profound. What do you see?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Spirituality and the Brain

Recent research pinpoints the place in the brain that accounts for some people revealing more traits associated with being spiritual, notably, selflessness. So if you tend to be spiritual and if you ever encounter skeptics who say "That religion/spirituality stuff is all in your head," you can say, "Yes, you're absolutely right.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Picture of Faith

To me this symbolizes faith: the dirty, worn hands, holding on lovingly to the rosary. Anyone who lives a life of faith experiences the trials this life has, but still chooses to love.

Changzhi, China
Photograph: /Reuters

Friday, December 12, 2008

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Vegetarianism Helps Climate

I've been a vegetarian for 26 years. It was a decision grounded in compassion for other living beings. Now with our earth's fragile condition, there are even more reasons to reduce meat and dairy consumption. If you eat meat and dairy, try this suggestion of reducing meat consumption to four days a week and milk consumption to just a liter of milk a week. And then, breathe in fresher, cleaner air.