Ultrasound image of my unborn child at 36 weeks, unedited.

My baby’s face emerges on the ultrasound monitor like a mask of smoke. Wisps of fluid swirl and distort its edges. I’m reminded that every person is a sequence, and we all live at the mercy of a bedeviling dance of impermanence — just as sure as this person has come into view, one day it will fade away.

What do I wish for its journey in between? A soft sense of self. Much generosity, little self-regard. The feeling of being inseparable from communities and ecosystems.

There are lines we think define us — contours of body, thought and identity…

Artist’s rendering of interstellar space object Oumuamua. Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser

Last week, science did what science does best: it resisted the story that’s most exciting, or most comforting, in favor of the one that’s true.

In late 2017, an interstellar object — dubbed Oumuamua, Hawaiian for “scout” — passed through our solar system and left the scientific community baffled by its bizarre shape and behavior. Immediately, there were murmurs about Oumuamua being an alien spacecraft. Among those who championed the theory was a veritable high priest in astrophysics, Avi Loeb, the longest-serving Chair of Harvard’s Department of Astronomy.

If proven true, that Oumuamua is alien and intelligent life exists beyond…

The folly of trying to schedule a spiritual epiphany

Grains of sand magnified 300x. Photo by Dr. Gary Greenberg, courtesy of Sandgrains.com

As I write this, I’m living — but barely breathing — under the tyranny of a stranger’s farts. I’m trapped in a plane, at cruising altitude, typing on my phone with angry, bewildered little thumbs as I fly home from a trip I hoped would yield a more elegant essay than this, an essay typed on a laptop, an essay written free of tyranny, an essay in which I’d reveal to you the great spiritual epiphany I planned to have on my trip, during which I was to finally feel the scale of the cosmos. Also, you should know, as…

In simplicity, you may find salvation.

“Mother with Baby” by Bright Dankyi Mensah. Courtesy of Novica.

When a baby is born, on average, its mother is three-and-a-half times its height. If that ratio were to hold as we grow up, many of our mothers would now be over two stories tall, with hands two feet long.

Perhaps you’re wondering why this is relevant.

I believe a standard of timeless peace and comfort is established in the womb when our consciousness comes online, and in so many ways, each of us spends a lifetime trying to regain it. In this sense, life is not nearly as complicated as it seems; our longing is quite simple.

In the…

Will you or won’t you? The answer says a lot.

Say I bring you to a room and point to a door called the Door to Everlasting Bliss. You have the option to walk through the door or decline.

If you walk through the door, your body and consciousness will collapse into a hot pink string of energy and go soaring through the cosmos at the speed of light. Your experience of being the string will be total, unwavering bliss by every measure imaginable. No suffering, pure bliss. You will have no sense of loss going from person to string, either in terms of physical change or change in consciousness…

Have we ceded more ground to phones than we think?

I’ve snowboarded a few dozen times in my life. I can stay up, that’s about it. The last time I went, I got a zap of courage and decided to try a jump. It was more of a bump than a jump — a backpack-sized ramp built by kids — but plenty for me.

I asked my girlfriend to post up and record the event on her phone. I took a rope tow up the hill, then started down. …

A call to knowledge workers, blink twice if you’re alive.

Think of a rock god, flung backward under his guitar as it points to the sky. Think of a basketball star, chin hammered outward, flying over opponents toward the rim. Think of a ballerina, her lithe limbs like fireworks bursting in air.

Three bodies rapturously expressed, these are the shapes of their work.

What’s the shape of yours?

If you’re any one of nearly 250 million knowledge workers in the world today, it’s nothing to photograph.

The comparison feels unfair, but it’s instructive — these are opposite ends of a spectrum worth considering. On the embodied end, we have ballerinas…

Without question, the tone in Reddit’s infamous WallStreetBets community is juvenile and offensive. Users refer to themselves as “retards” and “autists,” call anyone who doesn’t share their blind optimism a “gay bear,” and hardly go a minute without referring to their dicks and balls. When a stock price rises, their dicks are “so hard [they] could cut diamonds.” When it falls and they hold their positions, their balls are “so big you could see them from the moon.” These are among the more articulate comments you’ll find in the community. …

A case for spirituality that’s less intimidating and more accessible.

I want to make spirituality more accessible. Specifically, I want to help people adopt spiritual perspectives and spiritual practices that are practical and rational.

Everything you can think of — every cultural mechanism, every primal impulse, every profundity, every mundanity, every birth and death, every breath and blink, plays out on a stage of spiritual consequence. Spirituality names our most precious, exalted contact with the very fabric of reality. It is the category under which we huddle our deepest passions, most humbling mysteries, and most universal sense of connection. Few concepts are more powerful.

Yet, with that power comes enormous…

Andy Kerns

Founder of Spirit Lab. Dedicated to making spirituality less intimidating and more accessible. Join newsletter: spiritlab.substack.com/welcome

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