Monday, August 27, 2012

Why We Suffer

Honest Ed's, Mirvish Village, Toronto, ON
"If it is so beneficial, and I know it is, from experience, to not know what is coming next, to allow ourselves to open directly to the world and be present with what our senses deliver, then why don't we do it more often? No, even more importantly - why is our culture so against it?"

A question from the last Way of Nature class at Olbrich Botanical Gardens this last Sunday. I've gotten this question before in so many ways - from people learning about meditation, contemplative writing, contemplative photography, and, in this case, Haiku.

Another student answered something about our culture - about America and its materialism. Another about a fear of getting hurt. The whole time, I was drawn to the dry-erase board, where I came back to an earlier discussion about suffering, the Four Noble Truths and what it means to truly have no reference points.

"We don't, our culture doesn't support it, because it seems scary as shit," I said, once the other discussions had died down. "Not just us - everyone avoids it - it's pan-human behavior. It's suffering."

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Seen Reading

From Kensington Market, Toronto

I am late into the game on this one, but in Toronto this last weekend, in an independent bookstore/tsotchke shop in Kensington Market called Good Egg, I found a book called Seen Reading by Julie Wilson. It's a lovely collection, with a beautiful pressed cover and tiny micro-fictions (one of my favorite genres) about people she's seen reading on "The Rocket" (Toronto subway). She lists what they are reading and what they look like on one page, then her little fiction on the facing page. I ate it up on the plane ride from Toronto to Chicago, and then wrote some of my own.

I was especially interested in making up what I think these women were thinking about. Julie Wilson makes third person stories, and speaks to their lives outside the circumstance she sees them in. For me, I was curious, in a Wings of Desire/angels listening in to human minds kind of way, about piecing together the "clues" I saw and coming up with possible thoughts. I make no claims to accuracy and likely my little stories are projections. But good exercises in compassion...Here are two:

Monday, August 06, 2012

Compassionate Communications

Compassionate Communications, a spontaneous essay I recorded while driving.

The more I practice any of the practices I teach and study, the more I find that communication is the crucial crux. Verbal, visual, physical. Please listen to this spontaneous audio essay I composed on this - all of the forms of communication, not just the "usual" auditory kind. The most crucial Non-violent communication for me is internal - in how we address ourselves. Visit websites for more information: Center for Non-Violent Communication Compassionate Communication Green Light Conversations Five Keys to Mindful Communication