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.
When a human life comes into being, a unique form comes together, like a drop of water when it is separated from the wholeness of the river as it hits a rock or falls down a waterfall.
Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn suggests that evil is not something manifested by wicked people, rather it perpetuates with the conventions that we absorb from childhood.
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.
"One can write nothing readable unless one constantly struggles to efface one's own personality. Good prose is like a window pane." - George Orwell In his 1946 essay, Why I Write, George Orwell set out what he saw as the main motivators for writing: they were, sheer egotism, esthetic enthusiasm, historical impulse and political purpose.… Continue reading Every Book is a Failure – George Orwell on Truth in Writing
Ada Limón's poem, Wife, examines the secret pitfalls of marriage from a woman's perspective; poignantly, from the point of view of a newlywed, of someone entering unchartered territory that has been laid out and defined for her by the generations that preceded her.
Simone Weil lauds 'unmixed attention', which she likens to prayer, and reflects on the quality of attention, expressed as 'patience, effort and method' to 'understand with our whole self the truths which are evident.'
Osip Mandelstam spent many years of his life being persecuted for the views he held and the work he made. 'And I Was Once Alive' was one of the last poems he wrote before his death from heart failure in a transfer camp.
Why is self-acceptance so hard and self-criticism so deeply wired in us? Psychologist and teacher of meditation Tara Brach reminds us that self-love is one of the most neglected areas of our psychic landscapes.
For the former Unitarian minister, relations with other people evoke in us the call towards both truth and tenderness, asking at their highest level not for daintiness, but for the 'roughest courage.