Buddhism

Zen Ox Herding Pictures: Introduction

The ox herding pictures represent the process of awakening as described in Zen Buddhism. Each image is a metaphor that reveals the internal stages of meditation – how awakening looks from the inside. In this series we’ll look at each picture and explore what they mean, but first a bit of background. The original drawings… Continue reading Zen Ox Herding Pictures: Introduction

Creativity · Meditation

Colouring Books: Art Therapy or Mindless Money-spinner?

There’s a new mindfulness craze sweeping the nation: colouring books for adults. It’s supposed to help you relax and be more mindful, but does it work? The idea is that keeping your hands occupied allows the mind to become still. If you struggle with normal meditation, where you have to sit and do nothing but… Continue reading Colouring Books: Art Therapy or Mindless Money-spinner?

Writing

David Foster Wallace on Writing & an old Chinese Tale

“I keep remembering this strange little story I heard in Sunday school when I was about the size of a fire hydrant. It takes place in China or Korea or someplace like that. It seems there was this old farmer outside a village in the hill country who worked his farm with only his son… Continue reading David Foster Wallace on Writing & an old Chinese Tale

Spirituality

Death comes to us all – even cups…

Broken Cup

Oh boy! Oh boy!” cried the monk-on-probation who had just cracked the Zen Master’s favourite (and valuable) drinking cup.

The frightened youngster went to the Zen Master and asked, “Why must there be death?

The Master answered, “Death is natural. It comes to all persons and things. We should not greet it with fear or meet death with anger. Why do you ask?

Because, Master, death has come upon your cup.

– Zen Fables For Today

Writing

Writing Exercise: Five Favourite Words

Another writing exercise to get the juices flowing! This time we’ll explore five of our favourite words – these could be any word you like or whatever is rattling around inside your head at the moment. Try to choose words that are concrete rather than abstract, words that point to something real, not an idea.… Continue reading Writing Exercise: Five Favourite Words

Writing

Writing Exercise: What’s in a Word?

I’m preparing to rewrite my second novel (again) so thought I’d limber up with some writing exercises, get the old fiction juices flowing. I’ll share the instructions for each exercise and the results, and you can ‘write along’ with me, if you like. Note: I’m doing these exercises longhand and then typing them up –… Continue reading Writing Exercise: What’s in a Word?

Writing

Zen in the Art of Writing – according to Ray Bradbury

In this great essay, Ray Bradbury gives us four words of advice that are essential for writing, or any kind of creativity: WORK RELAXATION DON’T THINK! ‘Work’ is self-explanatory. ‘Relaxation’ means getting into the Zone and letting the writing write itself. And ‘Don’t Think!’ means not second guessing yourself or interrupting the flow of Relaxation.… Continue reading Zen in the Art of Writing – according to Ray Bradbury

Publishing · Writing

How to Deal with Rejection

Writers hate rejection. So does everybody else, but writers and other creative souls will experience more than their share of the dreaded scourge. There aren’t many other occupations that have to deal with such high levels of criticism and sheer indifference. There are many ways to deal with rejection. Getting drunk and gorging yourself on… Continue reading How to Deal with Rejection