Book Reviews

Review: Writing Down the Bones – Natalie Goldberg

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg is a collection of short reflections on writing designed to help you become a better writer. The advice and inspiration is rooted in the practice of Zen but you don’t need to know anything about Buddhism to benefit from it. There are many similarities… Continue reading Review: Writing Down the Bones – Natalie Goldberg

Book Reviews

Review: Riding the Dragon

This week I’m reading Riding the Dragon: 10 lessons for inner strength in challenging times by Robert J. Wicks. The book is a spiritual and psychological guide to dealing with adversity and spiritual crisis. It’s aimed at people who work as therapists and counsellors, but anyone struggling to cope with overwhelming problems will find it… Continue reading Review: Riding the Dragon

Writing

Natalie Goldberg on the Loneliness of Writing

Sometimes I wonder why I continue to write, especially when it seems to take me away from other people. The more I dig into myself, the wider the chasm between us. Do words make any difference? Can they bridge the gap? Is that even possible? Here’s a reminder from Natalie Goldberg that loneliness isn’t necessarily… Continue reading Natalie Goldberg on the Loneliness of Writing

Book Reviews

Review: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

This week I’m reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M Pirsig. It’s a curious book: not really a novel, more an excuse to philosophise about anything and everything, and likely to provoke many arguments and lots of feverish thinking. The narrator of the tale sets out on a road trip with… Continue reading Review: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Book Reviews

Review: Jake Fades by David Guy

This week I’m reading Jake Fades: a novel of impermanence by David Guy, about a Zen master who fixes bicycles and teaches meditation in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The tale is told by Hank, his long-time student, and the ageing Jake hopes that Hank will take over teaching from him. Commitment phobic Hank doesn’t feel ready to… Continue reading Review: Jake Fades by David Guy

Book Reviews

Review: When the Shoe Fits by Osho

This week I’m reading When the Shoe Fits – an Osho classic which includes commentaries on the stories of the Taoist mystic Chuang Tzu. Osho gives you the original story and then takes them apart, offering his perspective and unique comments. The stories cover everything from the spiritual search for liberation, to the desire for love, acceptance,… Continue reading Review: When the Shoe Fits by Osho

Dark Night of the Soul · Dharma Diary

What I Learned About Joy on the Sofa

Life is mostly an exercise in escapology and humiliation. You want to be happy. You don’t want to suffer or experience pain, but life rarely cooperates. The harder you run from the inescapable, the faster it pursues you. The monster is always one step ahead, waiting around the next bend in the road. It knows… Continue reading What I Learned About Joy on the Sofa

Mysticism

Mystical Texts: The Cloud of Unknowing

The Cloud of Unknowing is a classic mystical text that was written by an anonymous English monk in the 14th century. It’s a guide to contemplative prayer but with an agnostic approach that’s very similar to Zen, once you get past the religious language. The main message of the text is that God is ultimately unknowable… Continue reading Mystical Texts: The Cloud of Unknowing

Buddhism · Meditation

The Dark Face of the Mindfulness Craze

“Mindfulness is the skill of thinking you are doing something when you are doing nothing. One of the good things about mindfulness is that you get to do a lot of sitting down. Sitting down is good for the mind because so much positive energy is stored in the lap.” – The Ladybird Book of… Continue reading The Dark Face of the Mindfulness Craze

Buddhism · Dharma Diary

Fearlessness in the face of a hot spoon

There’s a Buddhist story I like about overcoming the fear of death: a Zen monastery was under attack by an infamous warlord and his army. All the monks fled, except for the abbot who sat peacefully in front of the shrine. The warlord entered the courtyard and approached, pulling out his sword. He shouted at… Continue reading Fearlessness in the face of a hot spoon

Book Reviews

Review: Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki

This week I’m reading Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind: a Zen classic from a brilliant master. The book is drawn from a series of talks given by Shunryu Suzuki on Zen Mind and how to practise. They’re divided into three sections that cover Right Practice, Right Attitude, and Right Understanding. The beginner’s mind of the title is… Continue reading Review: Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki