Showing posts from January, 2014

The Void and Emptiness and Nothing In Particular

I suspect that anyone who’s lived an appreciable number of years will have come to know that darkest of places that we can know – with life as we’ve known it but a fast-fading memory, and life as we think it will be forevermore seeming like the darkest, coldest hell that can ever be imagined. Do you know this place of which I speak – the Void? I was still a teenager when I first encountered it. Whatever Christian faith I’d known up to that point had crumbled and I’d not yet cultivated much of anything to take its place. In that place of in-betweenness was everything abhorrent to the human mind: meaninglessness, aloneness, joylessness…

Some might be quick to refer to such an experience as “the dark night of the soul”; but to label it as such is at once to minimize it. For to assume that one’s soul is experiencing some tribulation that will eventually bring it closer to God, or to oneness, or to whatever it is that one might still believe in is to presume that there is a God, or someth…

The "Lifing" of the Universe

Alan Watts, erstwhile Episcopal priest and Buddhist scholar, died at the relatively young age of 58, prior to ever seeing the Buddhist teachings that he helped disseminate in the West reach the level of acceptance and maturity that we know them to have today. I have the sense that people of about my chronological age represent the last generation of spiritual explorers to see his writings on bookstore shelves with any regularity. Regardless of your familiarity with Watts, however, you will almost certainly enjoy a very delightful, and delightfully animated, lecture snippet of his referred to as The Earth is People-ing (animated by Chris Brion and Todd Benson).
The Earth is People-ing challenges us to move beyond our usual way of thinking about the arrival of intelligent life here on earth in order to reflect upon the possibility that the intelligence that resides in people is actually a manifestation OF the Earth and not merely a characteristic of the beings that now happen to live ON …

Walking In The Snow

A new year begins, and with it I embark on a new journey born of renewed intention – even as the mud and memories of years gone by remain. The holiday season brought with it all the joy and sorrow of the karma that is mine; and now I live with the renewed intention that urged me to sit rohatsu sesshin at Sanshinji at the beginning of the last month of last year.
Some days into that sesshin it began to snow. I walked in it one day after lunch, just as it was ceasing its accumulation. Here are some photographs of that walk, accompanied by the poetry that has been percolating somewhere in the back of my mind ever since:

Walking In The Snow

Walking in the snow is a meditation That unfolds of its own accord. If one must speak in terms of beginnings, Then it begins with the closing of the door behind us. And it ends when…, well…, Who can say when it ends?

A closing door, A garden fencerow – A walk in the snow quickly leaves such things behind. And what remains are memories Of what we want, A…