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Merrily We Roll Along

In one way or another, human beings have always been involved in scientific search and spiritual search–in the search for knowledge and for meaning.  I came away from my interview with the Indian-born, scientifically-trained Ravi Ravindra (in “Man and Machine”) with the impression that it is a quirk of Western culture to imagine that spirituality–which […]

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A Way To Be Wild

“‘I think of my territory as that which I have walked in person and know the weather at a given time of year, know a lot of the critters, and know a lot of the people,” the Zen poet Gary Snyder told reporter Dana Goodyear in a recent issue of The New Yorker.   His territory […]

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What Is This?

“What is this?” Recently, I’ve learned that koan practice began in sixth-century China, an answer to a trend toward seeking academic answers.  Stories of monks’ awakenings became a source of questions that would draw the light of inquiry back onto the self and one’s experience in this very moment.  In Korean Zen a classic koan […]

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“An Unsolved Mystery Is a Thorn in the Heart”

The author Joyce Carol Oates uses the above statement as a prompt for students in her creative class at Princeton.  Twenty people and I tried this exercise at the loft space of the New York Meditation Society last Saturday in Manhattan, and the results were amazing.  We had spent the earlier part of the day […]

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Write Mindfulness

“I have tried to learn in my writing a monastic lesson I could probably not have learned otherwise: to let go of my idea of myself, to take myself  with more than one grain of salt,” writes Thomas Merton.  He wrote elsewhere:  ” seek no face, I treasure no experience, no memory.  Anything I write […]

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Go Down Moses

When Harriet Tubman was 13, her skull was fractured by a 2-pound lead weight in a dispute between an overseer and another slave.  After this, she began having visions and conversations with God.  She told people she was always talking to the Lord.  In 833, a year or two before her injury, she also witnessed […]