Showing posts from May, 2015

Six Types of Happiness in Hesse's 'Journey to the East'

Every so often I find myself drawn to one of the books of my youth. Part nostalgic reflection, part introspective rediscovery, part discovery anew, rereading a great work of literature after many years of lived experience can be an interesting endeavor. I first read Herman Hesse’s The Journey to the East back in my youth. I’d been introduced to his work when I read Demian for a college humanities class, and I then went on to read Steppenwolf, Siddhartha, and “The Journey” in fairly quick succession. For some reason, though, I subsequently began and then abandoned mid-read The Glass Bead Game (Magister Ludi). Perhaps it’s fitting that I should wait until later in life to finish that one given the fact that it was Hesse’s final novel and all. Such a thought especially resonates with me now that I’ve discovered that I am presently the same age that Hesse was upon completion of The Journey – a realization that has me wondering whether I finally have enough life experience in my knapsack …

Waking Up and the Curse of Cassandra

It can be pleasant at times to remain asleep – snuggled under the covers in our comfy bed, strolling through fantastical dreamscapes entirely of our own creation. And even after we rise, we may remain lost in reverie for much of the day – savoring our dreams, and pondering ways to bring their deliciousness into reality. Yes, the real world can be harsh at times, and sometimes we succumb to an overwhelming urge to simply escape into our fantasies for a time. The problem comes when we confuse our fantastical dreams with reality.
Spiritual growth is often likened to waking up. When we wake up in the spiritual sense we begin to see the dreamlike nature of the life that we are living. Those awesome achievements that we once celebrated, that we’ve been so proud of for so long, that we thought defined who we are – we come to see them as meaningless in the ultimate sense. Our pursuit of them and the importance we once gave to them comes to be seen as but a dream.

Waking up can be difficult i…

The Universal Human Experience of Stillness

I'm still in the thick of editing That Which We Already Know. I had stopped posting sequential contributions to that work for the sake of immersing myself in its entirety before wrapping up the final chapter. Well, I've gotten to that point. Consider what follows to stand on its own, or consider it to almost bring Chapter Nine to a close. Either way, I hope you enjoy it!

By the time we reach adulthood it’s all but second nature for us to think of the body and mind as two separate and distinct entities. Even those who are very much in tune with their bodies might nevertheless think of them more as beasts of burden to be trained by the mind, or tools to be skillfully used by it. Leave it to the children and the Zen masters – and a few others, of course – to understand the seamless integration, the inextricable oneness of body and mind.
Why is this such an important point, anyway? Three reasons come to mind. First of all, it helps us understand how we fit into the world. More pr…