Almost Composed

Meditation and curiosity

Really looking

December 14, 2014

I attended a mindfulness meditation retreat a couple of weeks ago. As I lay on my back forming an intention not to prod the meditator below me with my foot again, some writing on the rafters caught my eye: A work of art can only be comprehended by looking at it and no description is a substitute for this. […]

categories: aphorisms, reflections

Sitting in the loft

August 24, 2014

Ghosts are billowing through the field: rain on wind. I’m sitting on the cushion keeping an eye on myself. The lights are off so the dim Sunday evening light is the same inside as out — grey as a classic movie you might watch on a day like this. Trees sway by the side of […]

categories: reflections

Shikantaza in Yoda’s cave

July 30, 2014

LUKE What’s in there? YODA Only what you take with you. It occurred to me that entering the haunted cave on planet Dagobah in The Empire Strikes Back is like shikantaza meditation, which translates literally as ‘just sitting.’ They both seem to be situations in which you cannot avoid facing yourself. The challenge is to bring your […]

categories: reflections

The inattentive life is not to be lived

June 24, 2014

Before he was sentenced to death by hemlock, Socrates rejected the court’s clemency because it was offered under the condition that he cease questioning the people of Athens. The philosopher responded that, ‘the unexamined life is not worth living’. Many have considered the implications of this and the force with which the unexamined life should be rejected. One translation has it […]

categories: essays, philosophy, reflections

The Hall of Fire

May 14, 2014

I was reading The Fellowship of the Ring to my son and came across this description of the Hall of Fire in Rivendell, ancient home of the elves. “Frodo found himself walking with Gandalf. ‘This is the Hall of Fire,’ said the wizard. ‘Here you will hear many songs and tales – if you can keep […]

categories: reflections