Category Archives: Books

In Defense of Making Mistakes

In my first year on the faculty at St. John’s College, a senior colleague sat down beside me at lunch and asked what classes I was teaching. After I told him, he grinned and gave me some hopeless advice: “It’s … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Philosophy, Psychology, Quotes | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

From the Annals of “Easier Said than Done”

I recently came across this gem in Jon Kabat-Zinn’s fine book, Wherever You Go, There You Are: So, if you stop trying to make yourself into more than you are out of fear that you are less than you are, … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Buddhism, Psychology, Quotes | Tagged , | Leave a comment

A Book, A Resolution, and An Offer

One of my resolutions for 2014 was to make an effort on behalf of my first child, by which I mean my book Willing Dogs & Reluctant Masters: On Friendship and Dogs. A year later, I’m determined to follow through … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Dog Stories, Dog Training, dogs, Friendship, working dogs | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dawn of the Year 2015

Morning is when I am awake and there is a dawn in me….We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us in our … Continue reading

Posted in Books, meditation, Quotes | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Science of How to Learn Anything

Some time ago I introduced a post offering advice for serious readers by bemoaning the fact that in all my years as a student I never once had a teacher who spoke in any detail about how to read and study … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Dog Training, Mind, Psychology, Quotes, Science | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Way of the Monkey or the Way of the Kitten

In India there are two images used to characterize the “two principal religious attitudes” found among human beings. One is the “way of the kitten”; the other is the “way of the monkey.” When a kitten cries, its mother takes it … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Buddhism, Psychology, Quotes | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Syphilis, Hypnotism, Buddhism, and the History of Psychology

Lately I’ve been reading Ronald Comer’s textbook on abnormal psychology. Needless to say, it’s a very big book. The author classifies many theories and therapies according to whether they adopt a somatogenic or psychogenic approach to mental illness. In other … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Buddhism, meditation, Mind, Psychology, Yoga | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Take Criticism

We all have to deal with criticism, whether we asked for it or not. Writers and artists are in the especially tough and tender spot of needing critics in order to get their work noticed, which means they are inevitably … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Psychology, Quotes, Writing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Two Metaphors for the Trained Mind

In earlier posts (here and here) I quoted some metaphors meditation masters use to describe the normally distracted and afflicted condition of our untrained monkey minds. Well, then, how to describe that other, more unusual, experience of a trained mind? There are … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Buddhism, meditation, Mind, Psychology, Quotes | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A Precocious Letter and a Meditation on Humility

My dear Adele, I am four years old and can read any English book. I can say all the Latin substantives and adjectives and active verbs besides 52 lines of Latin poetry. I can cast up any sum in addition … Continue reading

Posted in Books, dogs, meditation, Psychology, Quotes, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment