Zen Blog

This blog collects various internet feeds aimed towards information, experience and technique exchange in support of our shared spiritual journey.....

”Namaste - may the light in me, honor the light in you…”

Mindfulness, Compassion, and Inclusivity Summit

There's a balancing of gender power happening across the professional world—including the mindfulness world. Ten leaders in the field share how they claim their power and bring the diversity of their experiences in the mindfulness movement to bear in the work. Read More 

Original linkOriginal author: Mindful Staff
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Robert Bly - Collected Poems

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Hunting Pheasants in a Cornfield

"IWhat is so strange about a tree alone in an open field?It is a willow tree. I walk around and around it.The body is strangely torn, and cannot leave it.At last I sit down beneath it.

"IIIt is a willow tree alone in acres of dry corn.Its leaves are scattered around its trunk, and around me,Brown now, and speckled with delicate black,Only the cornstalks now can make a noise.

"IIIThe sun is cold, burning through the frosty distances of space.The weeds are frozen to death long ago.Why then do I love to watchThe sun moving on the chill skin of the branches?

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Robert Bly - Collected Poems

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Robert Bly has astonished and enlightened us in so many ways down through the years.

His first collection of poems Silence in a Snowy Field (1962) demonstrated his fascination with the natural world. And that interest has stayed alive in his later poetry.

Bly's openness and hospitality is illustrated in this anecdote. Attending Robert Bly's Great Mother Conference in 1976, Coleman Barks recalls, "I had never even heard Rumi's name before and he said to me 'These poems need to be released from their cages.' " Barks went to work and became one of the most read translators of Rumi. We first encountered Rumi through an audiotape of his poems recorded by Barks and Bly. These two masters captured the awe, the depth, and the passion in those poems.

In 1980 News of the Universe was released with Bly as editor. With 150 poems, it is one of our favorite collections of spiritual poems from a variety of cultures. As a poet philosopher, Bly presented a mystical vision of the universe where animals, plants, and objects are equals with human beings.

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10 Powerful Women of the Mindfulness Movement

In the weeks leading up to the third annual Women’s March this weekend, I got to speak to ten of the leading women in the mindfulness movement and find out what’s on their minds.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the women leaders in the mindfulness space—there are many more amazing women leaders, and we’ll be profiling as many of them as we can over the next year. These ten women were chosen based on recommendations from their peers. They come from across the country and across the movement, they’re engaged in research, teaching, writing, and speaking about mindfulness both at home and around the world.

These women bring the diversity of their experiences in the world at large and in the mindfulness movement to bear in their work, and in these conversations. Despite their differences, many echoed similar themes: kindness is necessary, trust yourself, find your community, meet yourself with warmth. It feels like good advice for this weekend—and well beyond.

1) Keep listening and find your community

Mirabai Bush

Mirabai Bush has watched the mindfulness world change gradually over her almost-fifty years as a leader in the field. She’s a long-time activist, co-founder of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, a key contributor to Google’s Search Inside Yourself Program, author of many books including Compassion in Action, Working with Mindfulness, and more.

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Why People Don't Have Hobbies

Tim Wu's excellent opinion piece last fall in The New York Times, "In Praise of Mediocrity," has stuck with me because he talks about why people don't have a hobby — and I am one of those people. (Of course, I do for a living what a lot of people do in their leisure time: go to movies and read books.) Wu is a law professor and the author of The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads.

Whereas in the past people enriched their lives with hobbies, many today are working long hours or more than one job and just don't have any free time. A second reason for the diminishment of hobbies is "the intensely public, performative age we live in where." We are afraid of being bad at our hobbies! Wu writes:

"If you’re a jogger, it is no longer enough to cruise around the block; you’re training for the next marathon. If you’re a painter, you are no longer passing a pleasant afternoon, just you, your watercolors and your water lilies; you are trying to land a gallery show or at least garner a respectable social media following. When your identity is linked to your hobby — you’re a yogi, a surfer, a rock climber — you’d better be good at it, or else who are you?"

Wu laments the loss of simple delight that comes from learning something new — "without the burden of excellence or self-judgment." I agree with his prophetic observation that the pursuit of excellence has corrupted the world of leisure. Let's bring back the pleasure that comes from just doing something for its own sake.

The creative theologian Robert Farrar Capon gives us another reason to have a hobby. It is liberating because it is part of the spiritual practice of play. It's a way to connect with the Great Creator.

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