Thoughts about things

The week before Christmas I awoke around 1:30 AM and could not go back to sleep. I had just finished co-leading the first Mindful Photography workshop the previous week at Hui Ho’olana with John Barclay, an amazing photographer and teacher. Erin and I had also enjoyed being together for the first time in our new … Continue reading Thoughts about things

Growing Up and Waking Up Presentation

This post is a pointer to a new set of video links to a presentation I did for the Mind and Science Foundation a few years ago. The presentation is divided into 9 segments and are all linked on my website Teaching page. I was speaking to a large lay audience but I was representing … Continue reading Growing Up and Waking Up Presentation

Hakomi and Zen

In 1993 I traveled to Esalen along the Big Sur coast of California to attend my first workshop with Ron Kurtz. My friends and colleagues with whom I was traveling had all heard about Hakomi and we were interested in spending time with the creator. We were particularly intrigued by the name of the new … Continue reading Hakomi and Zen

Be gracious and raise yourself up

I chose Psalm 57 as the next verse in our sequence because it deepens the previous “Koan of You.” There is a tension between the powerfully gentle first line—“Be gracious, Be gracious, Be gracious” and the fierce voice speaking in response—“Raise yourself up and blaze out over all the body of the earth!”. There is … Continue reading Be gracious and raise yourself up

Coming out from enclosure

This is my final reflection in this four-part series on the Psalms. Having begun with my own longing for consolation, comfort, and contentment (Psalm 23), I was confronted with an unexpected question: “Who am I calling to? Who or what is this ‘You’ to whom I call on with such anguish and hope?” (Psalm 46). … Continue reading Coming out from enclosure

The Koan of “You”

One of the central organizing principles of teaching at Appamada is that the dharma is, most deeply and fully, an expression of relationship. In his introduction to Opening to You: Zen-Inspired Translations of the Psalms, Norman Fischer speaks to the centrality of this insight: “Although our lives are located in our hearts and minds, they … Continue reading The Koan of “You”

Consolation Comfort Contentment

Consolation Comfort Contentment These three words—consolation, comfort, and contentment—do not frequently appear as part of the conventional language of Zen practice. Zen is more often seen as confrontational rather than consoling. Being attached to comfort is often named quite specifically as a barrier to meeting “life as it is,” and contentment is sometimes used as … Continue reading Consolation Comfort Contentment

Touching contact

Sometimes there are no words. Lately I’ve found myself in a place of very quiet tenderness. It’s not that I am devoid of feeling. I feel a lot. Its not that words don’t ever come in response to a gentle request or a warm greeting by a friend. I simply feel no desire to lead … Continue reading Touching contact

Inconceivable Joy

As most of you know, my dear teacher Zenkei Blanche Hartman died only a few short weeks ago. Here is a lovely piece written for Tricycle by one of my good friends and  dharma sisters, Shosan Victoria Austin. The link to her reflection on Blanche’s last days can be found at Inconceivable Joy. Of course I … Continue reading Inconceivable Joy

The Dharma of Carl Rogers

I have been reflecting on the gifts of “ancestors” and the fleeting nature of life—mine and those around me.  My father recently celebrated his 88th birthday, I am the age at which both of my grandfather’s died, a close friend suddenly died after a very brief illness just last month, and three of my beloved … Continue reading The Dharma of Carl Rogers