Articles & Essays

Photo by Mona Johansson

Mirror in the Street

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by Rebecca Solnit

Nineteenth-century Paris was often compared to a wilderness by its poets and writers. They sensed that the city had somehow become so vast, so magical and unpredictable, that one could wander it as though it were not made by human beings and reason, but rather had sprung up with all the mystery and intricacy of a jungle.

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Porcupine

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by Linda Hogan

For years, I’ve seen the dark old porcupine lumbering like a sleepwalker along the edge of the dirt road. Late at night, she steps aside from car lights and from the cloudy dust of tires.

This is not the porcupine of poems, the one that eats the hand-salted shovel handle and is killed because it desires to swallow what men have touched with their working hands. It is not one of the sleek young porcupines I have seen in the tops of winter trees, silent, their dark eyes looking down over the cold white forests, nor is it one of the fast ones who leave their quills in the muzzles of dogs.

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Sacred Wildness

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by John Daido Loori Roshi

The river never speaks, yet it knows how brilliance. When you neither let go nor hold to find its way to the Great Ocean. The mountains have no words, yet the ten thousand things are born here. Where the river finds its way, you can perceive the essence. Where the mountain gives birth to the ten thousand things, you can realize the action. When the mind moves, images appear. Even if the mind does not move, this is not yet true freedom. You must first take off the blinders and set down the pack if you are to enter the sacred space. When you let go, even river rocks and brambles are radiant. When you hold on, even the mani jewel loses its on, you are free to ride the clouds and follow the wind.

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A Collaborative Intelligence

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by Susan Griffin

Yes, poor Louis, Death has found thee. No palace walls or life-guards, gorgeous tapestries or gilt buckram of stiffest ceremonial could keep him out; but he is here, here at thy very life-breath, and will extinguish it. Thou, whose whole existence hitherto was a chimera and scenic show, at length becomest a reality: sumptuous Versailles burst asunder, like a dream into void Immensity; Time is done and all the scaffolding of time falls wrecked with hideous clangor round thy soul: the pale Kingdoms yawn open: there must thou enter, naked, all unking’d….

—Thomas Carlyle, The French Revolution

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The Holy Spirit as Wild Spirit

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by Matthew Fox

Life is wild. Life is a wild ride, a ride between the highs and the lows, the mountains and the valleys, the via positiva and the via negativa. Nature is wild. We come from the wild—from the surging seas of the ocean, from the heat-blasting, hydrogen-exploding sun, from the supernovas bursting, from galaxies expanding, from the cooking fireball: We are made of wild stuff. Carbon, oxygen, sulphur, magnesium—we are very, very combustible. There is fire inside of us as well as water. There is revolution as well as peace. There is the familiar, and there is the shockingly new.

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The House Made of Dawn

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Reinhabiting the Sacred Feminine

by Carol Lee Flinders

Wherever the sacred feminine is honored, the central imagery is of birthing, but also of rebirthing. In cultures where individual achievement and aggrandizement are crucial to one’s experience of self, the very notion of death evokes immense anxiety, because mortality limits one’s opportunity to make a mark in life. Where identity is experienced in terms of connection and relationship, one might assume the idea of death would be just as terrifying insofar as it disconnects us from those we love.

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In the Forest

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by Bree Lafreniere

When I think of my life in the forest, I think of falling rain. Even now, many years later, I cannot listen to the slow, steady sound of rain without being drawn back to that time. The sound of rain brings to my mind an image: I see a group of men sitting in a circle, not exchanging words but only the warmth and security of each other’s bodies, and waiting in silence a seeming eternity for the gods to intervene and change their fate.

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The Night Journey of Nicodemus

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by Philip Zaleski

The words are magisterial, even harsh: Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3).

Astonishing idea, to be born again! This cryptic teaching, given by Jesus in Jerusalem at the beginning of his ministry, bewilders Nicodemus, a pious Jew and member of the Sanhedrin, who has come to the celebrated Rabbi for guidance.

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Birth and Death

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by Eihei Dogen, translated by Kazuaki Tanahashi

As a Buddha is in birth and death, there is no birth and death.” It is also said, “As a buddha is not in birth and death, a buddha is not deluded by birth and death.”

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Photo by Alex Schwab

Mind Beyond Death

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by Dzogchen Ponlop

Whenever we embark on a long journey, there is a sense of death and rebirth. The experiences we go through have a transitional quality. The moment we step outside our house and close the door, we begin to leave our life behind. We say goodbye to family and friends and to the familiar rooms and routines that we inhabit.

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