THIS WEEK'S BLOG

Helen Macdonald
Book Bits

The Magic Lives of Swifts

The twilight excursions of swifts echo the solemnity of certain spiritual rituals, when the earth is quiet enough that we can relocate our own bearings in relation to the world.

Gregory Pardlo
Poetry

Gregory Pardlo – Raisin

The anxieties of fatherhood and the tension of generational and racial dynamics weave through Gregory Pardlo’s vibrant and dense poem, Raisin.

Bathtub Bubbles

The Rose-Pink Porcelain Bathtub

BY CHARLENE MOSKAL
At around age seven I’d lie in tepid water in the rose-pink porcelain bathtub. I would look down the skinny length of me, close my eyes, imagine I was Jesus.

All Real Living

All Real Living

BY JOHN JACOBSON
A husband and wife live together with a rare neurological disease. The illness profoundly changed their love and brought about a search for meaning.

FEATURED AUTHORS AND POETS

BOOK EXCERPTS

Helen Macdonald

The Magic Lives of Swifts

The twilight excursions of swifts echo the solemnity of certain spiritual rituals, when the earth is quiet enough that we can relocate our own bearings in relation to the world.

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Alexandra Horowitz

What is Attention?

Alexandra Horowitz asks, what does it really mean to pay attention? Is it beneficial? And how can we be better at it?

Read More »

Life and Death Do Not Exist

In this short chapter from the Shobogenzo, Sho-ji, Dogen plays with the distinction between the nuances of the two different meanings, life and death being static and self-defined events, which he argues have no substance or existence, and living and dying which are an endless flow of events and dynamic being

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THE ALAN WATTS CORNER

Caroline Goodwin

Why I Write – Caroline Goodwin

Writing can be anything, from self-discovery to incorporating pain to establishing direction, according to poet Caroline Goodwin, who featured in The Dewdrop a couple of weeks ago with her poem, Not I’ll Not, from her book, Custody of the Eyes. 

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THE BEATS

BROWSE BY THEME

MYSTICS

POPULAR READS

Zen Tree

FROM THE ZEN GARDEN

Ryokan – Playing with the Children

Ryokan loved children, and played with them so much that other adults began to question his sanity. He says, ‘Even if I were able to say something/how could I explain?’ His wholehearted immersion in playful activity is the essence of Ryokan’s very particular Zen expression.

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Bankei and the Unborn

17th century Zen master Bankei on the Unborn, the unconditioned mind that comes up spontaneously and is fundamental to every person, without exception.

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Am I Conscious Now?

“What does it mean to ask a question? Is there some magic in the inquisitive brain?” Susan Blackmore’s lifelong investigation into consciousness encompasses Zen practice and the recurring question: Am I conscious now?

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Chiyono’s Enlightenment Poem

Adachi Chiyono (also known as Mugai Nyodai) was the daughter of a samurai warrior in the 13th century who became the first woman – and mother – to found and head a Zen monastery in Japan.

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KEEP READING

Boshan

Boshan and Fostering Great Doubt

Doubt is a key incentive of the spiritual journey, and, as per the old adage ‘Great doubt, great awakening’, it is foundational to the enquiry of Zen.

Alan Watts

Alan Watts and Divine Play

Alan Watts delves into one of his favorite and recurring subjects – the way in which we over-identify with the parts we play.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

At Sea With Don Quixote – Thomas Mann

Thomas Mann’s ‘Voyage With Don Quixote’ is an account of the author’s voyage by sea to New York in 1934 during which he was accompanied by Cervantes’ great novel.

How Does It Feel To Be a Problem?

More than a century ago, the writer, historian, sociologist and civil rights activist W. E. B. Du Bois wrote about the unasked question that followed him everywhere: how does it feel to be a problem?

The Absolute Nature of Suffering

Zadie Smith asks whether the discourse about privilege still applies in the same way when we consider the suffering of individuals.

The Path That Leads Into the Mountains

In 1993, Zen teacher Joan Halifax published a book called The Fruitful Darkness based on her anthropological engagements with Tibetan Buddhists, Mexican shamans, Native American elders and other tribal communities.

Aldous Huxley and Beauty

Huxley on the beatific vision of divine beauty that resides in Pure Interval and harmonious relationship, and experiencing the divine through architecture, music, sacred geometries and human relationships.

Bathtub Bubbles

The Rose-Pink Porcelain Bathtub

BY CHARLENE MOSKAL
At around age seven I’d lie in tepid water in the rose-pink porcelain bathtub. I would look down the skinny length of me, close my eyes, imagine I was Jesus.

Read More »
Ross Gay

Ross Gay – Thank You

To feel fearful is to feel small and sometimes overwhelmed by life and death which appear to be separate and distinct from one another and from ourselves.

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DH Lawrence

D. H. Lawrence – Phoenix

D. H. Lawrence asks what is necessary for true change, finding his answer in the legend of the phoenix, who has to be burnt thoroughly and burnt while alive in order to regenerate herself again.

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Helen Macdonald

The Magic Lives of Swifts

The twilight excursions of swifts echo the solemnity of certain spiritual rituals, when the earth is quiet enough that we can relocate our own bearings in relation to the world.

Read More »
Gregory Pardlo

Gregory Pardlo – Raisin

The anxieties of fatherhood and the tension of generational and racial dynamics weave through Gregory Pardlo’s vibrant and dense poem, Raisin.

Read More »
All Real Living

All Real Living

BY JOHN JACOBSON
A husband and wife live together with a rare neurological disease. The illness profoundly changed their love and brought about a search for meaning.

Read More »
Alexandra Horowitz

What is Attention?

Alexandra Horowitz asks, what does it really mean to pay attention? Is it beneficial? And how can we be better at it?

Read More »
close up photography of brown wasp

The Fly Antecedent

BY PATRICK BURR
After climbing to the top of Bulamsan, a small peak in northeastern Seoul, I sat on a boulder and stared out from among the trees at the ivory city below the smog. 

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j-krishnamurti

Love and Death are Inseparable

Jiddu Krishnamurti’s diaries reveal his ‘process’ and daily engagement with the the experience of his own consciousness and encounters with the unknown.

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Esso Station

BY SUSAN DI RENDE
It was the summer of 1959. I was four years old, sitting in the back of my parents’ Rambler driving down Route 60 past motels, restaurants, and gas stations.

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