Thirty-five years ago I read a book, Separate Reality by Carlos Castaneda. It was part of a freshman anthropology course I was taking at Oswego State College. In the past five or six years I’ve begun to view less and less network news and read less and less of magazines like Time, Newsweek and even less and less of daily newspapers. I’m even reading less of the news blogs that abound on the Internet. Instead I’ve been reading more blogs and books by a variety of authors who have a spiritual or contemplative outlook. I haven’t walled off the world. I’m very much a part of it. I’m engaged in public education. I help customers with technology and websites and I read RSS feeds. I read books like Wikinomics. I’m engaged with life and my heart is more tender to those less fortunate. I care more about peace than war. I love new ideas and “news”, but I’ve engaged in “news fasts.” I’ve cloistered myself from network news, talk radio, and the regular slugfests that pass for talk shows on television and radio. In the process I live in a different reality. I’m affected by that reality, but I’m not controlled by it. I’m free to think as I might. I spend more time praying, but not always rote prayers. I spend more time in silence, but not always in monasteries.