Derek Beres's Contributions
  • Whose Self Does Self-Help Help?

    The self-help movement has come quite a way since Samuel Smiles (actual name) published Self-Help in 1859. Considering the opening sentence invokes God and the help He offers, the tone for a metaphysical entity...

  • The End of the Guru

    In the last month, two people that I’ve critiqued in this column have replied and created fruitful dialogues. J. Brown, a teacher whom I respect for his intellectual fortitude, just sent me this new blog post; I...

  • Assumptions and Atheism

    Last week was a big one for assumptions. There was Wolf Blitzer asking an Oklahoma tornado survivor if she was thankful that the Lord spared her life. Then that brief, awkward moment when Rebecca Vitsmun looked...

  • Further Thoughts on the Afterlife

    While in Joshua Tree this weekend for another event, my friend and I swung by Shaktifest, the sister festival of the more popular Bhaktifest, which takes place every September. Both fetes are entirely devoted to...

  • When Did Meditation Become a Vehicle for Controversy?

    Last week two articles were published stating that meditation is not necessarily a component of living a spiritual life, as well as that we generally don’t recognize what real meditation entails. While I agree...

  • Is Suffering Necessary For The Spiritual Life?

    One of my first yoga instructors used to say, ‘Suffering is optional.’ In the immediate he was referencing the struggle to remain in challenging postures—our mindset could shift from one of struggle to that of...

  • The Failed Quest of Orphan Theology

    After her uterus nearly erupted, Vyckie Garrison was rushed to the hospital to give birth to her seventh child. The emergency caesarean section nearly killed her. Her doctor warned the family to stop having...

  • Is Play The Most Important Religious Component?

    Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.—Alan Watts Yesterday the NY Times published an article about the importance of play in the evolutionary development of our species....

  • Redefining Terrorism

    For the foreseeable future, ‘terrorism’ will be the default term immediately applied to any act of public violence. While some warned against jumping to conclusions in regards to yesterday’s tragedy in...

  • The Difference Between Prayer and Meditation

    Prayer effectively deals with sympathetic magic—the notion that your thoughts can alter reality from a distance, or influence outcomes in your life which you have no conscious control over.