insights

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    Not Enlightened Yet Paid Member

    After sesshin I write an e-mail to my sister with the subject line, “Not Enlightened Yet.” “Why are you doing this Zen meditation thing?” she asked months ago. “Do you want to become enlightened, or what?” I was stumped. “Or what” made more sense to me, but I knew that “wanting to become enlightened” would make more sense to her. More »
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    Intersections Paid Member

    The intersection of Thirty-first Street and Park Avenue in Manhattan seems an unlikely place to find spiritual refuge. And yet here in the shadow of the Empire State Building, tucked amid towering office buildings on a bustling midtown morning, stands a curious pair: the New York branch of Jews for Jesus, and a few doors down, the Tibet Center. On signage alone, the evangelicals appear to be winning the battle for business, with large lettering plastered across the building’s facade. They’ve got a nice big wooden plaque, etched in boldface. More »
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    Try this at home Paid Member

    Exercise: Watch dust in the sun.Duration: 15 to 30 minutesProps: a room, a ray of sunlightEffect: reassuring A room that is fairly dark. The shutters almost closed. The light piercing the gloom is filled with tiny glittering bodies. Spiraling, turning, thousands of sparks hold the brilliance. Microscopic feathers, tiny flecks, pass through the light in a way that is sublime, grave, joyful; fearfully busy, moving in whirls and arcs impossible to follow, in fragmentary trajectories, pure glints of existence. More »
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    Under the Pavement Paid Member

    In Barbara Gates’s quest to get to know her home place, she takes daily walks through her neighborhood. At some point it occurs to her that it is with the pavement itself, both on the street and in the mind, that she must become intimate. As she walks through parking lots and courtyards and learns about an asphalt plant that sends potentially toxic emissions into the area, she confronts her own resistance to exploring fully what she sees. More »
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    Questionnaire Paid Member

    First Facts What animal before being born human? What plant? Tallest mountain attempted?The most treacherous? How were you nearly killed by the residents of a far-off nation? Three books you’d take to the woods. Getting in Deeper Intentional community (utopian, narchist, feminist, archaic) you might have lived in before it was scattered by officers of the State. Historical epoch best suited to yourtemper. Give three lines froma poem you composed there. More »
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    Clouding Paid Member

    Traditionally, clouds are symbolic of things indeterminate. Composed of air and water, their essential nature can be attributed to neither element but arises in an obscuring of the two, a betwixt-and-between phenomenon, not unlike human beings, those nebulous creatures who themselves seem caught between realms, floating along between the shimmering horizons of birth and death, here and there, earth and heaven. Buddhist psychology refers to the aggregate of what we call personality as “the five clouds of entanglement.” More »