Beyond Conventional Cancer Therapies: Website Launch

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Dear New School Friends,

Since 38% of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime, doesn’t it make sense to know that integrating the best conventional and complementary therapies can improve quality of life, potentially slow or prevent recurrence, and possibly extend survival? We explore these issues at The New School in our Healing Circles series of conversations.

Since Commonweal’s beginning, I have focused much of my work on integrative cancer treatment. From my book, Choices in Healing, published in 1996 from MIT Press, through more than 33 years of Commonweal Cancer Help Programs, and many conversations with integrative oncologists and other healers, it has remained at the forefront of my interest and research.

On October 1, Commonweal launched a new website — Beyond Conventional Cancer Therapies (BCCT) — that brings together our efforts to help you integrate the best of conventional and complementary cancer therapies. Here’s the story of my 38-year journey to creating BCCT. Continue reading

Announcing the Enneagram Panels


Dear New School Friends,

I am honored and delighted that my friend and colleague Beatrice Chestnut will be presenting three day-long workshops of Enneagram panels at Commonweal.

Enneagram is an archetypal depth psychology. It has enormous power to deepen our insight into ourselves and others.

There are nine Enneagream character types. The best way to understand them is to witness “panels” with several people of each type on the panel. To have panels conducted by one of the great Enneagram authorities is a rare opportunity.

Beatrice is among the most gifted Enneagram teachers working today. Her book, The Complete Enneagram: 27 Paths to Self Knowledge, is among the best guides to this great tradition. If you are not already deeply familiar with Enneagram, I encourage you to read her book in advance if you plan to come. You should also watch my TNS conversation with Beatrice. Even if you are deeply familiar with Enneagram, Beatrice’s book will add to what you already know, especially with respect to the 27 subtypes of the 9 principal types. Continue reading

The Change


For The Children

The rising hills, the slopes,
of statistics
lie before us.
The steep climb
of everything, going up,
up, as we all
go down.

In the next century
or the one beyond that,
they say,
are valley, pastures,
we can meet there in peace
if we make it.

To climb these coming crests
one word to you, to
you and your children:

stay together
learn the flowers
go light.

—Gary Snyder, Zen poet

Continue reading

Summer Reading


A Brief for the Defense

Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies 
are not starving someplace, they are starving 
somewhere else. With flies in their nostrils. 
But we enjoy our lives because that’s what God wants. 
Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not 
be made so fine. The Bengal tiger would not 
be fashioned so miraculously well. The poor women 
at the fountain are laughing together between 
the suffering they have known and the awfulness 
in their future, smiling and laughing while somebody 
in the village is very sick. There is laughter 
every day in the terrible streets of Calcutta, 
and the women laugh in the cages of Bombay.  Continue reading

Commonweal Spring Letter


May 30, 2018

Dear Commonweal Friends:

I hope this Spring Letter finds you well.

We live in unimaginable times. The forces working against freedom and the earth are global: climate change, war, terrorism, authoritarianism, and more. I return to the global challenge later—first an overview of our work at Commonweal. Continue reading

The Upside of Down–and Other Readings on Global Future Shocks or Collapse


Dear New School Friends:

My last posting to you March 12 was a working paper called Courage in Dark Times: Choosing Resilience in the Face of Global Systems Collapse. It was reprinted by the Health and Environmental Funders Network as a newsletter and on its website.

One of the best books on the subject is Thomas Homer-Dixon’s The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity and the Renewal of Civilization. It has been praised by tough-minded critics like Stanford professor Paul R. Ehrlich and investigative journalist Robert Kaplan. Ehrlich says, “Anyone who doubts the seriousness of the human predicament should read Thomas Homer-Dixon’s brilliant The Upside of Down.” Kaplan says, “Homer Dixon has provided that rare thing: a bridge between leading edge research and the lay leader…Addressing the greatest problems of our time, he points us toward a path forward.” Continue reading

Courage in Dark Times

Choosing Resilience in the Face of Global Systems Collapse

This is a working paper. It is in a period of rapid evolution as of 3/12/18. Comments are welcome, though I cannot respond personally to all.

What Future?

What does the future look like? We cannot know.

To the best of our knowledge, humanity faces an unprecedented global crisis. The prospects for social, environmental and economic collapse, degradation, and transformation are unmistakable.

I do not preclude some miraculous way out of this dilemma—a non-polluting safe energy source, a transformation of human consciousness, a global commitment to sharing resources, an ethic of providing food and shelter for all, an end to tribalisms, a deep acceptance of diversity, a commitment to ending population growth, green chemistry, control of technologies, and more. But the probability of whatever combined miracles we would need is rather low. Continue reading

Enneagram: Some Amateur Reflections


I’m reading a slender volume by Claudio NaranoEnnea-Type Structures: Self Analysis for the Seeker. Naranjo is a Chilean psychiatrist, now in his 80s, who lives in Berkeley. He is a founding interpreter of the enneagram of personality. He was a close friend of Carlos Castaneda, a pioneer of entheogenic studies, and one of three named successors to Fritz Perls, the founder of Gestalt Therapy.

Naranjo learned the enneagram from Oscar Ichazo, the Bolivian-born founder of the Arica School.

The Enneagram Institute website is an excellent starting place to learn enneagram. Here is its historical section.

Enneagram was brought to the West by G.I. Gudjieff, the Armenian-Greek spiritual teacher and founder of Fourth Way studies. Continue reading

A Few Favorite Things…


Dear New School Friends:

Thank you for being so generous in supporting The New School in 2017. We depend on you. You have been most generous.

What can I say about the new year? The political drama continues, but the culture is responding. The #MeToo movement is an extraordinary cultural phenomenon. It is perilous to read history in the making. But this does appear a lasting step forward for women — and for men as well.

I won’t let the political drama take over my life. This is an article of faith for me. So I devote my evenings especially to the concerns of The New School — nature, culture, and the inner life.

Over the holidays, I read Charles Dickens seriously for the first time. Hard Times, Oliver Twist, and David Copperfield.
I also read a biography of Dickens — not among the best, so I won’t name it, but it got me started reading the novels. Continue reading