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What Draws You?

When I was young, I didn’t write in a journal. I drew pictures. I drew every day, whenever I had chance. Drawing was my way of entering my inner life—my real life–not the life of the culture at large, the world of words and inherited stories. Drawing put me in touch with the world closer […]

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Halloween as a Practice

At a certain point, the summer of our innocence passes. The bright hope that spiritual practice might be a way for us to bypass suffering vanishes. The bliss we might have felt at the beginning gives way to the realization that the more we practice, the more we feel not just joy but also the […]

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Angry Ghosts

One night when my mother was a little girl growing up in the panhandle of western Nebraska, she was driving with her father when she saw, far off in the plains, a cross burning in the middle of a circle of Klu Klux Klansmen. The sight filled her with terror. Her parents came from Denmark […]

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The Gift of Truth

The Zen master Thich Nhat Hahn taught people to take good care of their anger, not to push it away but to hold it with kindness, as we would a wounded child. This is a pretty good description of the practice of mindfulness: we offer ourselves the gift of nonjudgmental awareness. This is awareness is […]

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Finding the Path

Among the tasks or “yogi jobs” a participant can volunteer for during silent retreats at the Insight Meditation Society, a Buddhist meditation center in rural Massachusetts, the most resonant in every sense is that of bell ringer. Before dawn and before every meditation session during the day, the bell ringers walk around the grounds and […]

A Beautiful Mind: A Conversation with Gina Sharpe

I arrived at meditation teacher Gina Sharpe’s house prepared to talk about what it means to live a beautiful life for the “Beauty” issue of Parabola. The bare facts of Sharpe’s life were promising. Born in Jamaica, Sharpe moved to New York when she was eleven. She excelled in school and in the world of […]