All posts filed under: Still in The Stream

The focus of this website. A way of being in life that recognizes the impermanence of things, while also affirming the presence of awareness that comes from solitude, thoughtfulness, awareness, and mindfulness.

3 Most Formative Books

3books.co 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 …

A Year of Bokeh

It started when I looked at a photo by Eden Bromfield and thought, “woah, how did he get that shot?” I’d been looking at photos for months, deciding what I was most drawn to. What type of photos did I want to take? I liked both the ultra sharp landscapes that I would later come to understand are the result of a technique called photo stacking. And I liked soft (gasp) out-of-focus photos I would later learn were the result of a fortuitous geometry in the heart of specific lenses. But back then, gazing at that photo of Eden Bromfield’s I was simply lost in the beauty of it. The delicate over-lapping discs and rings of light echoing the cap of the mushroom and the general sense of glowing luminosity. I was enchanted. Learning the technique took a few months but it led me on a journey which culminated, finally a year later, in this shot: Different Kinds of Bokeh After viewing a number of the images with those glowing haloed backgrounds, I notices the …

BC Ferry silhouetted against Sunrise

Beauty Will Save the World

“Too often, beauty that is thrust upon us is illusory and deceitful, superficial and blinding, leaving the onlooker dazed; instead of bringing him out of himself and opening him up to horizons of true freedom as it draws him aloft, it imprisons him within himself and further enslaves him, depriving him of hope and joy…. Authentic beauty, however, unlocks the yearning of the human heart, the profound desire to know, to love, to go towards the Other, to reach for the Beyond. If we acknowledge that beauty touches us intimately, that it wounds us, that it opens our eyes, then we rediscover the joy of seeing, of being able to grasp the profound meaning of our existence.” – Pope Benedict XVI Speaking to a collection of artists. The wounding, eye opening, joyful, grasping of profound meaning that the Pope described is an experience I’ve had. In fact I’ve had this experience many times and I now spend most of my free time putting myself in contexts where it might occur. It is not, of course, …

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.

Back Pain and TMS

TMS, or Tension Myoneural Syndrome, is a theory that explains the kind of pain that persists for long periods despite the absence of clear physical damage or injury. It is most often associated with back, neck, and intestinal pain, but has been applied to a wide variety of conditions including itching, tinnitus, and fibromyalgia. Even when physical abnormalities such as a bulging disk seems to present a likely cause, the strategies taught by Dr. John Sarno and others are effective at reducing and often eliminating the pain. One of the best explanations of TMS is in this video by Dr. Howard Schubiner: Dr. Schubiner and Dr. Sarno focus on education as a means to help people see the “true” cause of their pain, and then take steps to eliminate it. After first reading Crooked and Everyone has Back Pain, I read Dr. Sarno’s book, The Mindbody Prescription: Healing the Body, Healing the Pain. Towards the end of the book Dr. Sarno lays out the formula for exposing and confounding the brain’s covert plan of distraction-by-pain, by exploring the emotional issues underlying …

Trees in the Mist

A Long Missed Shift

There have been NO MUSHROOMS in Nanaimo so far this fall. With failing hope on my walk today I wandered from time to time off the trail, poking mournfully at the ground with my walking stick. Eventually I gave up and decided to just enjoy the walk. As I came around one curve in the path I stopped and looked at this scene: Something in the way the branches filled up the space with horizontal lines, the autumn light, late in the day, and the deep reassuring stillness caused a sort of mental pop in my head. I felt it like a knot un-knotting. Pop, un-knot. I was suddenly full of a warm shy contentment angling up towards joy at the edges. I smiled. It has been a very long time since such a feeling has come to me. I carried on down the trail, swinging my stick and breathing in the green smelling air, lungs not big enough to take in as much as I would like, shoulders not broad enough to throw back …

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 …