I hope you’ve been enjoying the influx of recent blog posts. I hope that you’ve been enjoying the slight shift in format. I’ve really been enjoying posting with more frequency. I’m planning to do my very best to keep it up. To do that, I’ve been experimenting a bit with my blogging approach or methodology.
I’ve been writing shorter, more ‘stream of thought’ kind of blogs, a
kind of shared or public notebook of random thoughts, that maybe will be
further developed in future content creation.
With that being said, one of thing that I’m becoming increasingly
interested in is the intersection and overlap of meditation and
I think that these two activities have much in common, and share many of the same qualities and attributes.
I think that both meditation and creativity require us to be fully
present, to be attentively absorbed in the present moment but, this
attentive absorption and awareness comes with the realization and
recognition that the present moment is rife with possibility and
Each endeavor pulls us into the flow of reality, confronting us with
‘what-is’ but also with what is ‘to-come’, with what is ‘not-yet’.
In the latest episode of my podcast we try to talk about creativity.
In video we cover six books that we think could help you to live a more mindful life.
This was a lot of fun to work on, and I’m excited to share it with
you all. It was pleasure working with Stuart, so please show him and his
channel some love. Give the video a “like”, leave a comment, and be
sure to subscribe.
I look forward to working with Stuart again, we currently discussing
some possible dates for having him on my podcast! I’ll be sure to keep
Below you’ll find the transcription of my book recommendations as
well as links to the books if you ‘d like to purchase any of them.
My current number 1 book is Sadness, Love, Openness: The Buddhist Path of Joyby
Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche. I just finished reading it about a month ago and
I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed it. I’m really stuck on it right
now, and I’m constantly reviewing my notes and highlights. In fact, I
made two videos on my channel talking about some of the main ideas in
this book (you can find the videos here and here. or if you prefer audio you can find that here and here, and if you’d rather read the transcripts you find them here and here).While
the author is a Tibetan Buddhist and while Buddhist thought is a strong
feature in the context of his writing, you certainly don’t need to be a
Buddhist to get any value out of this book. In many ways you could say
that the central theme of the book is that living mindfully means
embracing things as they really are which also means embracing sadness,
love, and openness. Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche suggests that that deep
sadness is not to be avoided, nor is it something to be wallowed in.
Instead, he says that the experience of grief and sorrow that comes when
we are confronted by the impermanent nature of all we hold most dear,
can actually help us become more loving and compassionate, and it can
allow us to be more open to love, more open to the world, and more open
to the reality of the way things are.
Number 2 is What is Zen?: Plain Talk for a Beginner’s Mind by
Norman Fischer and Susan Moon. I love this book. I read it last year
and I just couldn’t put it down. The book is written in a question and
answer format, Susan Moon poses various questions to Norman Fischer,
Fischer answers, and often Moon responds and pushes back a bit further.
The conversational tone of the book makes it an easy, accessible, and
enjoyable read. When you’re reading it, it almost feels more like your
having a discussion with friends over coffee. The topics center upon zen
thought and practice, so if your interested in zen at all this is a
great gateway into the topic. Also because its an q&a format its
easy to skip around to the questions that interest you the most or to
even use it kind of as a reference book. However, I think the key take
away from this book isn’t so much the information specific to the zen
tradition, I think its actually Fischer’s approach to zen. For Fischer,
zen is most deeply and most centrally concerned with the simplicity of
everyday life, being fully present with feeling and experience of simply
Last but certainly not least is Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion. This is the book that launched me into meditation practice. If it
wasn’t for this book I would not be doing what I’m doing now. So if you
love what I do you have Harris to Thank and well, if you don’t like what
I do, blame Harris not me, lol. I don’t consider myself a religious
person. I’m a pretty skeptical and secular kind of guy. Sometimes even
the word ‘spirituality’ still makes me a bit uncomfortable but, after
reading Harris’ book any reluctance or hesitation I had about beginning a
meditation practice was gone. i felt that I could begin a ‘spiritual’
practice in a way that was conducive and honest, in a way that made
sense to me. In the book Harris outlines the science behind meditation,
and in the process weds the wisdom of contemplation with the
understanding of modern neuroscience, creating a ‘spiritual’ path and
practice that even the most skeptical among us can get on board with.
I really hope you enjoyed this World book day collaboration! If you’d like to support what I do be sure to check out my Patreon page.
Thanks so much!
Keep showing up, Keep doing the work, Fail Boldly, and Make Something Meaningful!
I’m obsessively fascinated by and with creativity. There’s just
something so mysterious about it. I’ve devoted so much time to pondering
it and thinking about it and reading about it and practicing it…but I
still don’t think I’m any closer to understanding it. And actually…I
think that’s what I love the most about it.
I think that being involved in some kind of artistic endeavor, or
participating in some form of creative practice means coming to the
realization that you are more of a conduit than a ‘creator’.
Creating is never creation ex nihilo, it’s never creation from nothing, it’s never out of nothing.
I think there’s always something teeming just below the surface, just
out of sight. Even ‘nothingness’ isn’t ‘nothing’. Nothingness isn’t a
vacuous void of utter absence. It is empty of essence but it is
permeating with presence. Nothingness is an emptiness pregnant with
‘everything’. It is the raw possibility and potentiality percolating
within every present moment.
In this regard, I think that ‘creating’ is more about facilitation
than it is about fabrication. It’s more about opening a door and
stepping out of the way.
In the newest episode of my podcast we try to talk about creativity and the creative process.
The book is called The Lotus and the Rose: A Conversation Between Tibetan Buddhism and Mystical Christianity. The book is a series of transcribed conversations between Lama Tsomo, an American lama in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, and Matthew Fox, a former Roman Catholic priest.
Lama Tsomo is not only a teacher and author, she is also the co-founder of the Namchak Foundation and the Namchak Retreat Ranch. Matthew Fox, as we stated previously , is a former catholic priest within the Dominican order. He became an Episcopal Priest after being expelled from the Dominican Order for “disobedience”.
Fox seemed to have ruffled a lot of feathers with the Roman Catholic Church because of his theological stances that run counter to the Church’s and because of his refusal accept and promote stances on certain issues advanced by the Church. Thus, Fox was ultimately dismissed. He sounds like my kind of guy.
If you’re kind of a religious studies nerd like I am, then this book will probably spark your interest. I’m currently working on a podcast episode and an accompanying YouTube about this book.
So stay tuned for that!
Keep showing up, keep doing the work, fail boldly, and let’s make something meaningful!