Author: Richard

The Welcoming Prayer

Sadness, loneliness, depression — feelings most of us don’t welcome. Speakers like Tony Robbins and Sharon Pope as well as a growing number of Psychologists say that suppressing or avoiding feelings is not good for us. Experiments show that suppression of emotions leads to increased sympathetic activation of the cardiovascular system and worse memory for social information such as names or facts about individuals seen on slides 1. There are also authoritative references that link cancer to a “type C personality.” Type C personalities are known for their tendency to “suppress wants, needs and desires.” 2. The implication being that suppressing these things increases the risk of cancer. Dr. Gabor Mate explains that the type C personality does not predestine a person to get a disease. Instead the type C personality predisposes a person to certain ways of thinking that increase stress. It’s like a kind of internal stress magnifier. Since our ways of thinking can be changed, there are ways we can reduce our risk. The Welcoming Prayer is one of them. The Welcoming …

The Way of Elegance

When I was at David Thompson University Centre I took my first course in Linguistics. I discovered that the study of a word’s history, it’s parts and evolution, was strangely pleasurable and enlightening. More than any other course I took that year, it inspired me to explore the meaning wrapped up in words and language. Here are a few Japanese words that I have found helpful in uncovering this way of life I seem destined to live. Way of Elegance – Two root Japanese words michi (way or path) and fuga (the elegance of poetry) make up the phrase. Fuga, refers to the elegance of poetry. The word is made up of two root words: ‘Fu’ which means the habits and manners of the common folk and ‘Ga’ which refers to the grace or gracefulness of ceremonies at court. Ga is achieved by a poet who is experienced, recognized, and advanced in artistic studies. English words that convey a similar quality are ‘cultured’ or ‘civilized’. The renowned Japanese court poets tried to express ga with …

Continuing To Be Still In The Stream

Originally Posted 19 July 2015 Updated 04 November 2017 Shortly after the publication of my first book on wabi sabi in 2004 I created a website called stillinthesteam.com. I maintained a full site with contests, articles, and news, for 10 years, then transferred my domain name here in July of 2015. I want to shift my focus from the wider wabi sabi ideal, to the application of sabi in everyday life. I still believe that the the phrase “still in the stream” captures the paradox and joy I’m following, and also searching for. When I started my 100 lakes project it was a way to more deeply explore sabi through a practice known as Kanjaku. The 100 lakes blog was largely a series of travelogs with the occasional post of my philosophical musings. Over the years I launched new blogs to try to chronicle some of the inner journey I have been on, but as is often the case for me, and those with similar personalities to mine, I don’t seem to make much progress …

Wabi Sabi for Writers

Wabi Sabi For Writers Find Inspiration. Respect Imperfection. Create Peerless Beauty. by Richard R. Powell, published by Adams Media What if deep poetry flowed through your day-to-day life? What if writing that poetry was a path to enlightenment? Basho, the grandfather of haiku poetry, named this path, “the Way of Elegance” because it connects you to grace and fills your life with subtle beauty. I began writing Wabi Sabi for Writers, to communicate the significance of this path for writers, but I ended up with a book for anyone who wants the poetic light inside them to penetrate the darkness that surrounds them. Basho knew the central defining quality of his culture was: “a sensitivity to things,” and he deliberately and thoughtfully crafted practices to support and deepen that sensitivity. These practices allowed the quality to expand his life. Unfortunately he found that while “a sensitivity to things” expanded his awareness of beauty it also expanded his awareness of suffering. This heightened awareness of both beauty and suffering leads some people to despair. This is …

Free Energy

(Written on February 7th) We watched the second episode in Brian Swimme’s The Powers of the Universe tonight. I was struck by this quote, and I am paraphrasing, “the dynamic of acquiring free energy is at the core of everything.” We are participating in the dispersal of energy in the universe. Life is part of that dispersal. We are part of that dispersal. Our sentience, our sensitivity, has been selected for within the context of the wavelengths emitted by our sun, the chemical constituents of our soil, the excess of water and carbon, and the tiny changes that gave our ancestors some advantages in acquiring free energy. We are only able to know aspects of the universe associated with our access to free energy. Life is a competition for that energy and we don’t have a choice to not participate in the competition. Fortunately group selection means that part of the success of our species has been due to helping each other to get the energy we need. In the discussion afterwards we talked about …

All those “isms” are now “wasms,” — Ross Hostetter

Last night I re-read key sections of my touchstone text for clarifying the “isms” associated with faith, and then I spent this morning reading the various definitions on Wikipedia and various other sites, to create short reference definitions that would help me as I think about this confluence of evolution and my own spiritual tradition. The touchstone text is Thomas Molnar’s Pagan Temptation, which I will quote from tomorrow. See my review of the book here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/115890432 Theism – At least one deity “is” and has influence in the physical universe. The term has become more closely aligned with monotheism in the west. Since the majority of theists are from one of the three big monotheistic religions, the majority of theists concieve of God as possessing the quality of personhood. The term “Theism” historically was used by western thinkers who wanted to distance themselves from Deists. Monotheism – There is one God.  Monotheism is usually contrasted with polytheism and atheism and is primarily associated with the Abrahamic religions, (Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Baha’i Faith), but …

Summary of 38 Conversations from the Advent of Evolutionary Christianity

In the beginning God was a deep current of tightly folded language. God the code – acorn of infinity. Then God in God’s non-existence retracted; emptied words from a moment of coherence and something other than God filled the opening. Continues filling. Unravels to this day. We sense the syntax; a structure like logic, but clearer. A clarity only math can approximate. It is distance and movement and paradox; a long gush of death spilling fresh elements and levels of complexity. God being born. Suns birthed in water-soaked nursery clouds and gassy nova deaths full of candle flames. Finally, on earth, humans, several steps up from the goo, look around and see. It’s all really there. The universe comprehending itself in 1400 grams of fatty neurons. Within the convoluted folds, 100 trillion connections*.  Brain as mirror for emergence. Understanding in a transient species. Reality awake. In the dark, on a cold December evening, I study the sky; feel the emptiness within me, the God hole, odd echo of the lingo before existence. Tongues of the …

Evolution In The Stream

In 2004 I started a website called “Still in the Stream.” The idea was to build upon my books about wabi sabi and explore the wider artistic, philosophical, and lifestyle components to the wabi sabi aesthetic. Then I embarked on my 100 Lakes project and have been focused on that for the past 3 years. Over Christmas I started listening to the podcast series, Evolutionary Christianity, with guarded interest. The experience has proved to be more stimulating that I had hoped and I am re-energized to explore the confluence of Evolution and Spirituality. Wabi Sabi has proven to be a deep and consistent set of concepts and values that have some evolutionary echos. The function of this blog will be to explore and record my thoughts on the subject. It will be largely a text-based effort, but I’ll try to include relevant images from time to time.