Virginia Woolf on our relationship to illness, its potential spiritual value, and the mysterious intelligence of the body.
BY MARY DOWNES How Nikos Kazantzakis’ “The Last Temptation of Christ” changed my understanding of Christianity - at 24, Jesus of Nazareth became personal.
Zen teacher and poet Norman Fischer on where and how poetry and Zen practice meet and interact.
BY CHRIS KING When romantic love falls apart, literary love keeps a bibliophile going. Lovers come and go but Murakami is always there, waiting on the shelf.
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.
"Literature is strewn with the wreckage of those who have minded beyond reason the opinion of others," wrote Virginia Woolf in her essay on the role of women in literature, A Room of One's Own. Published in 1929 and based on two talks she gave at women's colleges at the University of Cambridge the previous… Continue reading There is No Bolt That You Can Set Upon the Freedom of My Mind – Virginia Woolf
Anyone who has embarked on a prolonged meditation retreat will know that the experience is often a far cry from the blissed out enlightenment we thought we'd signed up for. In his book, Teach Us To Sit Still, Tim Parks gives a candid, humorous and humane account of his own trajectory from disbelief and pain… Continue reading The Asbestos-Clad Stove of Burning Coals – Tim Parks on Why Meditation Can Be Painful
Norman Fischer is a Zen teacher and priest (formerly the Abbot of San Francisco Zen Center) as well as a poet and author. His most recent book, Experience: Thinking, Writing, Language, and Religion, is a collection of essays about experimental writing as spiritual practice. This statement on meditation and poetry talks about how the two… Continue reading Norman Fischer’s Poetics Statement: On Meditation and Poetry
Muso Soseki was a Japanese monk born in the 13th century who achieved satori at the age of 30 while staying in a hermitage in the countryside. One night he was walking about in the dark and reached out for a wall he thought was there. When he realized it wasn't, he gave a great… Continue reading Muso’s Green Mountains
Long Quiet Highway is writer Natalie Goldberg's account of her life's spiritual journey under the guidance of various teachers including Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Allen Ginsberg, and most significantly, Dainin Katagiri Roshi. Throughout the book, Goldberg draws numerous parallels between Zen and writing practice, and emphasizes the importance of a good teacher. In his list of… Continue reading Natalie Goldberg: Be Submissive to Everything