Newsletter Archive

December 2017 • Going deeper than good or bad

December 2017 • Going deeper than good or bad

This constant ranking along the spectrum of good to bad is a bit of misplaced attention. You can think of it as a sort of junk food for the mind... read more

November 2017 • Art and Science

November 2017 • Art and Science

The hardest of sciences, physics, says there is no way to absolutely determine anything, that the very act of observation changes the situation. That the universe is more like Silly Putty than Legos. read more

October 2017 • Questioning Answers

October 2017 • Questioning Answers

Where do you go to learn good questions? What school teaches the art of asking? How do you wander just far enough off your map of the world to see with fresh eyes? read more

September 2017  • Information is Not Knowledge

September 2017 • Information is Not Knowledge

Just because we “know” something does not mean we understand. What’s more, thinking we know something usually disconnects our sense of inquisitiveness and attention. It’s easy to file it away in the know-it-all, “already have this handled” corner of the mind. We stop paying attention and go blind to new or contradictory information. read more

August 2017 • Heart and Mind

August 2017 • Heart and Mind

At some point in the course of Western culture we decided that the mind and the body were two different things that had little to do with each other. Some put the blame on Rene Descartes. I suspect, as is often the case, that it’s not the fault of a solitary individual, but rather a collective groundswell of perception and thought that became attributed to one person. In any case, somehow our culture has fallen for the notion that mind and body are two separate expressions of life. read more

July 2017 • What is the question that wants to be answered?

July 2017 • What is the question that wants to be answered?

Not the one that burns, but rather the one that smolders under the ashes and forgetfulness of the painful moments of disruption and disconnection that sow the seeds of a sense of separation. What question are you trying to answer but reluctant to clearly ask? How do your habits, prejudices, leanings... read more

June 2017 • Reference Experiences

June 2017 • Reference Experiences

They are the guiding stars by which we navigate our values, preferences, goals and aspirations. They as much open a world to us as they close us off from all other options. They help us to know who we are and who we are not, but they also limit who we might be. read more

May 2017 • Stress is Good for You

May 2017 • Stress is Good for You

Stress is the invitation to grow beyond the bounds we’ve set for ourselves. Stress challenges the way we’ve defined safety, goodness and right. It’s easy to think we need to pull away from something in order to reduce the stress, but stress just might be the lightning storm that burns down the barn so we finally can see the moon. read more

May 2017 • Glimpses of Taiwan

Here are a few short snippets of some things that seem to constantly tickle my funny bone. You'd think I'd be used to it by now and it would have blended ... read more

May 2017 • Snapshot Taiwan – Finding the Flow

May 2017 • Snapshot Taiwan – Finding the Flow

For ordinary folks, scooters are the best kind transportation in Taiwan. Not only do they, like water trickling merrily through rocks, percolate up to the front of the line between jammed up cars at traffic lights. They also are cheap to operate read more

April 2017 • Taiwan Edition – Look Deeper

When you first look at Taipei it appears to a jumble of concrete, an unhinged collage of brick, sheet metal, and confusion. To the unaccustomed eye it looks like  chaos. But if you look deeper, just like when we inquire in the storm and confusion of our own lives, there is unexpected beauty and more often than not, surprise. read more

March 2017 • There Are No Straight Lines in Nature

March 2017 • There Are No Straight Lines in Nature

Nature expands in circles and cycles. Seeds aren’t square; they’re oval, round or starburst pentagons. Roots, branches and rivers wander and bifurcate, and everything living is always in motion. We imagine straight lines, but those exist only in our minds. There is no such thing in the wild. read more

February 2017 • Recognizing Vitality

February 2017 • Recognizing Vitality

We are sold the image of vitality as that of youth and physical vigor. It’s true there is a physical substrate to being whole-heartedly embodied in this world, but vitality is far more than a photogenic body.Vitality comes from our bones, our spirit, from an indomitable will to engage the world with feet solidly planted on the ground. read more

January 2017 • Strange Comforts

January 2017 • Strange Comforts

Discounting our quirks is easy. We write them off as the residue from a particular kind of childhood or traumatizing experience. But if you look under the surface of your opinion about yourself, you’ll find something luminous, mysterious -- and more often than not -- completely unexpected.  read more

December 2016 • Smart Pain & Dumb Pain

December 2016 • Smart Pain & Dumb Pain

The wisdom of many traditions says that pain is unavoidable, but suffering is optional. Dumb pain surely brings suffering. Smart pain opens a path of liberation. read more

November 2016 • The Space Between Yes and No

November 2016 • The Space Between Yes and No

Between “yes” and “no” is a space. It floats untethered by judgment or habit, unrestrained by pronouncements of good and bad, mine and yours, or even theirs. It’s free of the gravity of staunch beliefs that continuously whisper a description of an unchangeable world. read more

October 2016 • The Tyranny of Consistency

October 2016 • The Tyranny of Consistency

We want to make sense to ourselves, string together with a thread of consistency our experiences and the meanings we make of them. Have a sense of being able to weave meaning that falls within an acceptable parameter of values, beliefs and comfort levels. read more

September 2016 • Physiology Does Not Forget

September 2016 • Physiology Does Not Forget

Our body remembers every trauma, hurt, burst of laughter, feeling of embarrassment and moment of delight. Our body remembers the pains we set aside at the moment of their unfolding because they might have been too much for us or maybe we did not know how to handle the situation. read more

August 2016 • Patience and Perseverance

August 2016 • Patience and Perseverance

Perseverance brings an active principle to patience, a sense of movement behind the enforced stillness. Perseverance allows us to sniff out opportunity where previously we were moving too fast to notice. Perseverance also allows us to keep something sparky and alive in a moment of utter stagnation. read more

July 2016 • Mistaken

July 2016 • Mistaken

We sometimes need a reminder to bring us present to the depth and breadth of a situation, a wake-up call that says we’ve left something out. Perhaps something essential. Something that clarifies our view, like cleaning off smudged glasses or noticing that we've transposed numbers. read more

June 2016 • Getting Lost for Lunch

June 2016 • Getting Lost for Lunch

In 2003, Beijing was home to 26 million souls. Its fractal grid would morph from broad boulevards to local thoroughfares to capillary thin hutong alleys. I’d find a section of town on the map that I’d not yet explored and set off read more

May 2016 • Put Yourself In Front of It

May 2016 • Put Yourself In Front of It

Making a difference rarely is the result of stunningly bright talent alone. Genius and the odd bent of ability, while useful, will only serve for a portion of any extended journey. Persistence and the knack for continually being able to put yourself in front of what you want is required to achieve anything remarkable. read more

April 2016 • Time is a Curious Solvent

April 2016 • Time is a Curious Solvent

Our views and perspectives seem stable, even as the winds of uncertainty blow at the edges of our awareness. We experience ourselves with a homeostatic stability. The ever-changing world outside our window moves slowly enough to create a sense of predictable, stable change. But time is a curious solvent. read more

March 2016 • Unlearning

March 2016 • Unlearning

Unlearning is the ability to recognize and take apart a groove-worn habit, comfortable mental construct, long-held belief or increasingly wobbly emotional preference. It is the process of recognizing that something in our lives lacks ease; that something we've learned, and learned well, is no longer of use. read more

February 2016 • Falling Together or Falling Apart?

February 2016 • Falling Together or Falling Apart?

It can be difficult to tell the difference between when things are falling apart and when they are falling together. A closer look often reveals that the difference, curiously, is a matter of perspective and stance. read more

January 2016 • Learning by Heart

January 2016 • Learning by Heart

Learning by heart requires a loose hand on the biases, beliefs and preferences. A wild willingness to be wrong, and cheerful about it. A curiously indifferent stance to both accolades and criticism. read more

December 2015 • What Else Is There?

December 2015 • What Else Is There?

It can get uncomfortable when we tune into our own contradictions. But it also makes life more vivid as we cozy up to the "impossible." And at times it allows the heart to unfold a solution that the mind, with its limits of logic, cannot grasp. read more

Older editions of the Yong Kang newsletter are found here.

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