Changing of the Seasons

I really found this article by Charles M. Blow in the editorial section of the NYT this evening, after spending a Sunday off. I don’t often talk about politics, but this isn’t about politics, this is about the injust killing of Black Americans, which is continuing to this day, one of so many others in a long history of racial injustice that must stop. I try to bring peace into my world, and I hope my work can do that, but to change anything, I hope our country, and the world, can begin to take a full view of the violence and racism taking place all over the world, and so close to home in America. I’ll let the journalists tell their stories. They’ve done all the research, endured long hours assembling the facts and presenting them to us. We have to listen, and then act. There is no reason that we can’t stop this violence, and I hope this article, and all of the information it provides, can help begin that exchange.

Moon River

The first time I heard this song was sometime in Chicago, in one of the coldest winters I’ve ever experienced. It is a truly beautiful song, and as I’m entering new journeys, and giving a way seeking mind talk later this morning, which I will share here, it was beautiful to touch on it again. We’re all going through such a crisis, and I hope this helps along the way. 🙂

Mountains and Waters Sutra

Mountains and waters right now are the actualization of the ancient buddha way. Each, abiding in its phenomenal expression, realizes completeness. Because mountains and waters have been active since before the Empty Eon, they are alive at this moment. Because they have been the self since before form arose they are emancipation realization. 

Reading this passage after completing the Philosophy section of Moon in a Dewdrop made me reflect a bit on my past experiences. And it was just a moment for me to let it all go. This is from the beginning of the poetry section, and I really feel like it captures the essence of the title of the book. While only being four lines, if you read this passage completely, on all it’s levels, this is a true gateway into realization. 

I won’t give my own thoughts on this passage, because it is such a personal journey that you can go on at any time. That’s the beauty of the poetic form.

I will say though, that tomorrow is my way seeking mind talk with my sangha, and I’ll be preparing for that all evening. If I could invite everyone I would. I might film it later during the day, and post here, though the content is already here on the blog if you care to look.

Playing for Wyndy

It’s been my first real morning after recovering from an injury that I’ve felt that I’ve been able to get back to some of the things that I’ve forgotten in the pandemic. About this time last year I was studying Crystal Bowl Performance with Ashana, and I was grateful to be able to play it for the first time in what seems like forever ago, a distance so vast. Wyndy was blown away. She sat patiently through the entire performance, and my partner was able to catch this image as she watched. This was an album I made at the time, which was only released on bandcamp. I hope it brings some expansiveness to your day. I’ll be off of the blog for a bit, and it was an incredible morning being able to play this for you.

Despair, Hopelessness, and Joy

I’ve been thinking this morning about the unsettling nature of our times. So much of it calls for action. I know that many of us work tirelessly to create peace in the world, in whatever way we can. Authors, musicians, artists, and everyone that makes up our culture. I’m greatly inspired by the tireless work of our journalists who work so hard to educate us, and keep us on track for a better future. In my own small way, I really hope this blog can contribute to that incredible struggle, and I wish I could read it all, all the time. Even in the most trying moments, the spirit of their work brings me not only knowledge but deep joy. Not for the content alone, but the true beauty of sharing knowledge to everyone. It’s incredible. I’ll be entering a Zen program in the next few weeks, and I hope I’ll still have time to check in, and write, in addtion to a needed break from the everyday. I’ll be working and living at the temple, a true dream I’ve had for years. I hope to share those experiences with you as I start this journey. I’ll write more soon, but for the next week or so I’ll be taking a break from writing as much as I had been. These posts are always here for you, as am I. 🙂

How to Love America

David Brooks had an amazing piece in the NYT tonight that really sat with me. It’s such a calm and expansive piece that we can all share. The NYT is something I turn to at almost all times, and the opinion section guides me through absolutely every question, philosphy, our world, politics, everything, with clarity. I wouldn’t understand the world at all without the work of the entire NYT. I can’t understate this. With the targeting of journalists all over the world, I think I’m just grateful for our country that we have responsible journalists at all. They’re our watchdogs, they keep us all going. I would include, as a reader response to this piece, that journalism is how I love America, the union of diverse voices expressing and seeking the truth of our realities every day, all day.

Formally Studying Zen: New Journeys

Hey all, heard back from the San Francisco Zen Center. It’s looking likely that I may move into the temple to begin a work-study program next month. This may be the most important step in my life so far. In the Buddhist tradition, we engage in practice not just for ourselves, but for the greater good of peace and compassion for everyone, our families, our friends, extending out into our countries, and ultimately to everything. I’m going to go study, not just for myself, but also for you. Wish me luck in this, only a few requirements left to fulfill. The start of a new journey, one that has been in the making for decades. Peace to everyone tonight. 🙂

Right Speech

There are so many inartful ways we can go about our daily lives in the things we say. It’s something I learned at the beginning of my Buddhist studies, but it was something I had to work at. By taking up compassion fully, which is expressed formally in the path of the tradition, the moment of speech is truly complex and beautiful. By speaking mindfully, we open the doors to our own compassion, and can truly relate to one another. I found this essay this morning that really gets into the heart of the matter, and it’s worth a read. I personally disaggree, respectfully, that anyone should be expelled from a Sangha, as the article suggests, but otherwise this article is a really good introduction. I’ll be writing most of this time for the next month, and I hope I can remember and honor this aspect of the tradition. It’s one of the most beautiful things about the path, and it was amazing to find this essay today. I hope to update with some news soon, and in the meantime, this is here for you. 🙂

Nonesuch Explorer Series

When I was very young, I had a cassette tape of the Nonesuch Explorer Series with Shakuhachi Flute, that I played so much.. As I got older, it stayed with me, across all the media as technology grew. I would have purchased the entire series if I had had the finances to do it, but thankfully through Spotify, it’s all available on this playlist. It’s a way to explore the myriad expressions of music across cultures all over the world, and this will be all I will listen to, for the most part, in March, to remind me that there is an enormous world out there, so beautiful, and not to forget that in the isolation of the pandemic. I hope it will bring you as much wonder and exploration as it has been doing for me.

February in Sound

It’s been quite a month. Here, as a diary, is my complete playlist for February. There’s so much in here. Hope you enjoy it. It captures all my hope and despair, everything I couldn’t say in words, and I’m so grateful we live in a time where I can share things like this with you. As someone who didn’t grow up with technology, things like Spotify, despite it’s flaws, will always be a kind of magic to me. I’ll always be able to return to this and really feel these moments again. It’s epic. It’s a little over four hours, so if you ever get a chance, listen to the whole thing, and you’ll get to know me so much better, seriously. Love you guys, and wish you a pleasant evening. I’m lighting a candle and listening to this all the way through tonight.