Hesse Begins His Journey to the East

Hermann Hesse is one of the icons of my reading life. His books opened the door for me on my own Eastward walk. Or, at least helped to open that door.As it happens he became available in the English language in popular editions in the late nineteen sixties, early seventies, at just the right moment for me. And, actually, even the order in which I read his books accompanied me in critical ways in my spiritual formation.So, as I said. Icon. Important. Very important.And as it happens … [Read more...]

The Great Calamity: A Meditation on Genocide, Memory, and Our True Home

The 24th of April marks the anniversary of the beginning of what the Armenian people call the Great Calamity, and what the rest of the world calls the Armenian genocide. I believe this event is not noticed enough outside of the Armenian diaspora. And, I find in that something deeply disturbing. So, most years I try to hold it up. When I was in the pulpit I visited the subject a number of times. And, now, here, on this blog.That terrible event visited upon a small nation is sadly, part of a … [Read more...]

Soul Men: Gordon Tappan, James Hillman, and My Foray Into Archetypal Psychology

I'm futzing around with a memoir. Probably nothing that will ever be published, but at this moment in my life I see it as an opportunity to reflect back and consider. A privilege of aging. This is one passage about one mentor and something of how he marked my life.I began taking classes at Sonoma State University, studying psychology while Jan finished up some general education requirements at several local community colleges.I was working close to full time and I considered the BA … [Read more...]

The Zen of You & Me: A Review

I've just finished reading Diane Musho Hamilton's The Zen of You & Me.The subtitle is "a Guide to Getting Along with Just About Anyone." Me, I'm not really a fan of self-help literature. So, not exactly a book I'd naturally be attracted to. However, I am glad I read it.This book offers a simple straight forward analysis of how we exist in this world and offers an invitation into how we can reorient and actually live in the world. It is not precisely a Zen book. But, there's no way in … [Read more...]

And the Irish Became White: A Small Meditation for St Patrick’s Day

Despite having been here from before the beginning of the Republic, with the great waves of immigration in the nineteenth century the story of the Irish in America is also very much an immigrant’s story, with all the beauty and sadness that comes with being immigrants. I believe there are few who would be reading this who are unaware of the broad outlines. Prejudice against the Irish as immigrants raged in the middle of the nineteenth century, and actually continued in various ways right to the m … [Read more...]

Alan Watts on Psychotherapy East & West

Alan Watts' book Psychotherapy East & West was first published by Pantheon in 1961. It has just been reissued by New World Library, which is becoming one of my favorite spiritually oriented publishers. I was invited to re-read it and if I wished to write a review.I read it. And, absolutely, I would like to share some thoughts.New World's publicity folk wrote a pretty good summary of what the book offers."Before he became a counterculture hero, Alan Watts was known as an incisive … [Read more...]

Reading Stephen Batchelor’s After Buddhism

I can't believe Stephen Batchelor's After Buddhism sat in my bedside pile of books for a full year. Having just finished it, I'm really sorry I waited so long.The book opens with two quotes. The first from the Buddha himself. “The dharma is clearly visible, immediate, inviting, uplifting, to be personally sensed by the wise.” Paired with it is one from the ninth century Chan master Linji. “The dharma of the buddhas has no special undertakings. Just act ordinarily, without trying to do anyth … [Read more...]