All posts filed under: Enlightenment

3 Most Formative Books is Neil Pasricha’s ambitious project to uncover and discusses the 3 most formative books of inspiring people so that he can compile a list of the 1000 most formative books in the world. I heard about the project from an interview Neil did with Dr. David Van Nuys on Shrink Rap Radio. I quickly became a regular listener to 3 Books, and have decided to make my own list. I like the word “formative.” Not favorite or “best” books, but the ones that formed you. What books shaped me the most? These three: These books fall roughly into the three categories of books that I’m drawn to year after year. Books of new ideas and theories (Spiral Dynamics), books about religion or spirituality (Pagan Temptation) and books that move me with their story and prose. As a highly sensitive person (or empath in the colloquial terminology) I exhibit the characteristics that HSP expert Elaine Aron summarizes as DOES D is for Depth of Processing O is for Overstimulation E is for Emotional Reactivity and Empathy …

Meekness,Wu-wei, and De

Because powerful people lose empathy the longer they have power, some mechanism is needed to counteract this phenomenon if they are to remain responsive to those they lead, and a benefit to the community. Various traditions, including Christianity, Daoism, Zen, and Stoicism, have all discovered ways to foster meekness and related qualities.

Ice on Water

Non Dual Thinking

When I wrote about why sabi was important, I touched on it’s role in fostering non-dual thinking. Non-dual thinking is a bit of a buzz word in certain Integral and “Progressive Christian” circles. Two of my favorite writers, Richard Rohr and Cynthia Bourgeault, have been speaking about it for many years, and I’ve heard some interviews in which advocates for non-duality claim to see a perspective even beyond non-duality. But for now, I think it is fair to say that most of us need to first experience the shift to non-dual thinking. But why? Non-dual thinking grows almost unconsciously over many years of conflict, confusion, healing, broadening, loving, and forgiving reality. – The Center for Action and Contemplation. Dualing Thoughts Most thinking involves a process we call categorization. The word category comes from the Greek word, kategoria which literally means accusation. In it’s verb form kategorein means “to speak against; to accuse, assert, predicate.” Going even deeper we discover that the root kata means “down to”  or “against.” Aristotle used the word to refer to …

Sabi is the Bedrock of Zen

John G. Rudy in his book, “Wordsworth and the Zen Mind” says sabi is the bedrock of Zen enlightenment. Here is the full quote: Chief among the moods of Zen – and the one that, for all practical purpose, forms the bedrock of Zen enlightenment – is sabi, the spirit of non-attachment or freedom. – John G. Rudy This matter-of-fact assertion by a scholar deeply immersed in the poetic work of the English Romantics seems at first to be slightly provocative. Provocative for me because I’m not sure if I would say that sabi is the spirit of non-attachment. Sabi is Paradoxical As I explored here, I see sabi as a paradoxical state or mood; a combination of loneliness and satisfaction, or perhaps even sadness and contentment. These elements are popularly considered both negative and positive respectively – thus the paradox. How is this possible to be contented and lonely at the same time? I think if we can answer that question we will glimpse the mechanism at the heart of sabi’s essential “spirit.” Sabi is Internal Before …

Frosty River

Secondary Benefits

I said on the “Why is Sabi Important” page that there are secondary benefits to embracing sabi and moving into a way of looking at the world through a sabi lens. Here I will, in the coming months, unpack this in more detail. Accepting All That Is? Well, maybe not all that is, but I have found that much if not most of our suffering comes from wishing things were different than they are.


Haecceity (from the Latin haecceitas – pronounced heck-see-ity) is usually translated as “thisness.” Duns Scotus is believed to be the first person to use the word to denote the wholly unique components that make a person or object unlike any other person or object. In a certain sense it is the emergent quality of a thing that we recognize as being one of a kind and therefore worth great value. A sensitivity to “thisness” is one of the central muscles of a poetic mind. With it we move out of categorizing all stones as “stones,” which is a time saving device, into contemplation of this particular stone, which is a time occupying device. We pick up the stone, we turn it over, we appreciate it for it’s thisness. This of course is not a muscle exclusive to the poetic mind. The scientific mind also requires this working, this using of effort. In thisness the scientist and the poet stand together — in curiosity, in wonder sometimes, at the profoundness of this one unique thing, this …