Posts Tagged ‘YogAsylum’

head over wisconsin

August 16th, 2010    -    5 Comments

Whenever Roso saw a monk coming, he immediately sat facing the wall. Hearing of this, Nansen said, “I usually tell my people to realize what has existed before the kalpa of emptiness, or to understand what has been before Buddhas appeared in the world. Still, I haven’t acknowledged one disciple or even a half. If he continues that way, he will go on endlessly.”Case 23, Shoyoroku

I hate it when people talk about koans. I’m going to Wisconsin next weekend. This gives me a chance to talk about koans.

First, Wisconsin:
Extraordinary Ordinary: How to Fall in Love with the Life You Already Have
Sat., August 21, 2-4 p.m.
YogAsylum, Brookfield WI
Register by clicking here or arrive at the door
A wisdom teaching and book signing

Just this morning at the yoga class I teach in my dinky little hometown 2,042 miles from Wisconsin, someone told me his sister was coming to see me next Saturday in Brookfield. Then I heard from the venue manager, and the kitchen table tour host, one after the other, with last-minute details and well-wishes. All of that and I immediately sat up straighter and faced the trip before me with enthusiasm: “I love Wisconsin!”

Come see me so I can tell you in person.

Now, koans.

What is a koan? Nothing like what you’ve probably heard tell. Take this for instance, a perfectly reasonable and popular definition of koan as “a paradoxical anecdote or a riddle that has no solution.” It’s perfectly reasonable to define koan that way and it is completely wrong. Every koan has a solution; otherwise we wouldn’t train with koans as we do in my Zen lineage. We train with a collection of 750 koans including the one above. By train, I mean that when a teacher directs you to a koan, you meditate with it and then present the depth of your realization of the koan to your teacher in a private meeting. Most of the time, the depth of your realization isn’t deep at all: you just grasp at the meaning off the top of your head. You try to tease out some kind of explanation. At those times, the teacher tells you kindly and straightforwardly to keep working on it, and you are relieved of at least one of your erroneous concepts. read more

a mother’s suitcase

August 3rd, 2010    -    4 Comments

First Stop:
Brookfield, Wisconsin, Sat., Aug. 21, 2-4 p.m. Extraordinary Ordinary workshop at YogAsylum. Register during these last 10 days of early bird savings.

Second Stop:
Boston, Mass., Sat., Sept. 18, 9-3:30 p.m. Mother’s Plunge retreat at Seaport Academy. Last 10 days of early bird savings.

Full Stop:
Los Angeles, Sun., Sept. 12 9-5, Beginner’s Meditation Retreat at Hazy Moon Zen Center. The best way to practice with me for real. Register here.

I’m home from a week’s retreat and unpacking my suitcase. My practice amounts to unpacking all the time, metaphorically and otherwise. Laundry piled and put away, refrigerator emptied and filled, mail opened and tossed before I’m off for warm pastures and waterfronts.

A letter waited on my kitchen table, and with it, this story unfolded. It’s the story packed in every mother’s suitcase. I hope you find yourself at home in it. read more

not that far

July 11th, 2010    -    8 Comments


When you ask yourself “Why not?” you may find yourself in motion, across a vivid and unpredictable landscape, over impossible mountains and beyond the deep blue water’s edge, where you surprise yourself, once and for all, by getting wet. – Momma Zen

I’m flying over the ocean, across a vivid and unpredictable landscape, over immense peaks, impossible heights and unfathomable distance. I’m coming home from an island retreat, and although I didn’t quite take to the surf like some in my family did, I went far enough to get wet.

Our lives are always calling us to step out from an island retreat and into the water. Beyond our false and insular views of “me, my, I” and into the ocean of true reality, true connection. Farther than the familiar edge that halts us, and through the question that dissolves all fear: why not?

Initiative is what takes you everywhere. There is never an absence of information in our lives. There is as much inspiration as sand. But we are all plagued by a shortage of initiative, like surfers stuck on shore, waiting for waves that will never come far enough to transport them forward. read more

archives by month

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.