Reynold Ruslan Feldman, Ph.D. - Author, Editor, Nonprofit Consultant, Wisdom Coach

Recent Posts

The Dangers of Mysticism
Kneedy No More?
Right Use of Money
Don't Worry! Be Happy!
Not the Team or the League But the Sport


all-too-human v. fully human
inner learning
right use of power
the future
the good life
the new renaissance
Travel Blog
war and peace
wisdom' wise living' the good life' talking to kids
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My Blog

Our Boulder Wedding

Today, May 18, 2011, I’m please to bring you the first of my promised Travel Blogs. Cedar and I left Denver International Airport a week ago yesterday, a mere three days after our wedding. As some of you know, our division of labor was—Cedar organized the wedding weekend, while I planned the six-week honeymoon tour to follow. Today I’ll write only about the former.  By all accounts a huge success, it began with a Friday-afternoon trip to the hand-made carousel in Nederland, a charming mountain town thirty minutes from Boulder.

Happiness and How to Achieve It

Dear Ruslan,
Here is how I think of happiness. First, you can’t find it head on. Despite the Declaration of Independence, happiness cannot be successfully pursued. Rather, live a meaningful life—one that benefits you and others—and happiness will pursue you. So what is happiness? I’d use terms likecontentment,fulfillment, or even that 12-Step favorite,serenity. It’s a feeling of enoughness: The fancy term issatiety. It’s how you feel after good food, good sleep, good sex, even a good workout. Happiness also seems to result from the satisfaction of a job well done.

Licensing Adults

July 3, 2076. An America chastened by the crises of the 21st Century is about to celebrate its Tercentenary. No longer the sole superpower, it has abandoned its role of global policeman to a more mature U.N. and is now using its limited funds for the needs of its people—more Denmark Anno 2011 than the United States of that era. Congress has just enacted a National Maturity Test, better known as the Adult Licensing Act. Unless a citizen passes this multi-phasic exam, he or she may not open a bank account, purchase or drive a motor vehicle, matriculate at a college, apply for a salaried job, buy property, run for office, or even marry. As you can imagine, parents, the schools, churches, health clubs, summer camps, tutoring organizations—everyone is teaching to this test. The ten things everyone is required to know and be able to do to qualify as a “mature American”—include (1) RELATING effectively to others. This is one “R” no one born in the 20th Century ever was expected to know. Included are leadership and collaborating skills. (2) SOLVING PROBLEMS efficiently. Research skills are part of this requirement. (3) MANAGING TIME and FINANCES well. Living within one’s means, saving money regularly, and knowing the difference between important and urgent are all de rigueur. (4) Showing SELF-DISCIPLINE in one’s lifestyle, including eating well, sleeping enough, and exercising every day. (5) Understanding and practicing responsible HUMAN SEXUALITY. (6) BEING CHARITABLE. (7) Expressing FORGIVENESS and GRATITUDE on a daily basis. (8) Showing CIVILITY in all one's interactions. (9) Exhibiting a SENSE OF WONDER. And (10) USING POWER WISELY in everything one does. During the first three-quarters of the 21st Century, humankind suffered from a collective lack of these behaviors. The President, a forty-year-old Muslim woman, will sign the bill into law tomorrow.         

Toward a Sense of ONEder

Day Two of Passover. As aJewishChristian I think of the Shema Prayer—“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.” It’s also Wednesday of Holy Week, the beginning of the end of Lent. As a JewishChristianI think of all the ones in this tradition:Credo in unum Deum, “I believe in One God”; “The Church’s one Foundation is Jesus Christ, Her Lord. . . .”; even the contrast between the Devil as “legion,” many, and God as one. And as a Sufi, I begin my walking meditation by moving in a circle, my eyes fixed on the horizon.

Flagging Enthusiasm

It must be an allergy. Yet for whatever reason I have difficulty seeing national flags on cars, tee-shirts, hats, lapel pins, running shoes, even flagpoles. This goes for the Red-White-and-Blue, our Grand Old Flag. While helping to unite smaller entities, states or provinces, nationalism often does so at the expense of the larger whole. People wrap themselves in their country’s flags before going off and killing, or being killed by, other people wrapped intheircountry’s flags. Children get bombed and women raped with the justification that they live under the

Marco! . . . Polo!

“Marco! . . . Polo!” Kids in a pool. One yells “Marco!” Another answers, “Polo!” After the fifth iteration, I’m wondering why I decided to go swimming that afternoon. After the tenth, I begin to entertain homicidal thoughts. Yet this dumbest of games honors one of the West’s greatest human beings. Why do I say that? For contrast, consider that other great Italian discoverer, Christopher Columbus. A century and a half after Polo’s travels to Xanadu, Columbus arrived in the Bahamas. As Howard Zinn reports in

Everyday Magic

My new brother-in-law, Dan Barstow, has a number of distinctions: He’s born on the Fourth of July, president of the Challenger Space Education Centers, a heckuva guy, and, most importantly for today’s reflection, he’s a magician. He does amazing tricks with silver rings, even if you’re just a few feet away. He’s been wowing audiences for decades yet still manages to fit into the black robe that transforms him into Merlin. (I guess that’s a trick in itself.) But here’s some news. We’re all magicians. Every one of us is a Merlin, a Gandolph, the Kind Witch of the East—or at least we have the potential. As Jesus promised his disciples, “Everything I do, you will be able to do—and more!” What does this mean in practice? Simply that through our words, deeds, and example we can change the lives of others for better or worse. That is, we can do both black and white magic. We perform our tricks for spouses, kids, parents, siblings, friends, co-workers, housemates, peers, even ourselves. Sometime our magic is as simple as keeping a promise. Or it may stem from a word spoken in or out season. Here’s an example. The summer after 7th grade a classmate threw a party. She and the other girls all knew how to dance jitterbug. That evening Linda, the hostess, taught me—a good deed which has stood me in good stead ever since. To my lifelong shame, however, I did not return the favor. Instead, I made unkind remarks to some mutual friends about her prominent aquiline nose. My words must have gotten back to her, since in fall Linda appeared with a new nose. Since then I hope I’ve been more careful in what I’ve said and done. Yet our challenge remains—to use our magical powers wisely.  

Using Power Wisely and Well

Today’s blog is a tale of two years: 1513 and 1516. In the first, Nicolò Machiavelli published THE PRINCE. In the second, Desiderius Erasmus published a much less known book: ON THE EDUCATION OF A CHRISTIAN PRINCE. Machiavelli’s classic was meant to help princes gain, maintain, and enhance their power. As such, its principles (!) are still used by today’s CEO’s to increase market share, acquire new territories and companies, and grow the bottomline. Erasmus’s work, by contrast, was meant to train princes to use their future power for the well-being of their subjects.

Wealthy and Wise

In 1994 a successful investment banker in San Francisco, Claude Rosenberg, Jr., publishedWealthy and Wise.Based on the tax laws, he argued, America’s richest citizens could do better financially for both themselves and the country by donating from their net assets versus their income. Rosenberg had done so himself by establishing a foundation. To be honest, as someone who has never amassed much money, I tend to consider the rich, per Jesus, as likely to have a hard squeeze getting into Heaven. Yet I can’t ignore Bill Gates, who has used some of his billions to establish the world’s largest private foundation, now doing so much to lessen HIV-AIDS in Africa.

Twenty-Five Characteristics of an Enlightened World

“It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. . . .” That’s how Dickens begins his fictionalized account of the French Revolution, The Tale of Two Cities. I suppose one can say the same about any era, since there will always be pros and cons. Nevertheless, we’re living now, I’m convinced, in a Dark Age. Yet the good news is, we are on the cusp of a new Renaissance. On that premise, my wife Cedar, her friends Marni and Nancy, and I brainstormed 25 characteristics of this born-again better world: 5 individual and 20 social. I hope you can improve on our phrasing and/or send us some additional characteristics of your own. So, at the individual level we see people moving from . . . boredom to a sense of wonder, reliance on the intellect to greater use of their intuition, fear of the other to interest in them, culturally sanctioned learning resources to learning from everything, and psycho-spiritual disconnection  to psycho-spiritual integration. At the social level, globally, there will be a fair distribution of wealth, peaceful conflict resolution, universal health care, sustainable energy usage, sustainable lifestyles, person-to-person versus technology-based friendships, an ethic of sufficiency versus materialism, need-versus-profit-based enterprise and marketing, a need-versus-want-based culture, effective world governance instead of chauvinistic nation-states, community-oriented populations versus rampant individualism, more natural approaches to healing replacing drug-based medicine, “Jesus” versus Wall Street ethics, the right use of power and influence instead of their widespread misuse, gender equality versus patriarchy, a prejudice-free society not a spectrum of isms, non-polluting versus polluting industry, fulfilling instead of soul-killing work, and soul-freeing, inclusive religiosity versus the exclusivist, shaming/blaming kind. In future blogs we’ll consider the parenting, education, and religion needed to create such a world. For now, I’d love your comments.  
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