On Second Thought / Creative Writing

  /  Creative Writing

Being in the “Now”

Our practice has deep roots in early Buddhism but lives in the modern era. One of the ways I am integrating our past and present is by changing the image on Sati’s homepage. Images on websites come and go rapidly, but this change is made with careful consideration and with the knowledge that it will change again. Like the image of the Quan Yin or Padmapani statue, the new image personifies Reflective Meditation: a human being in meditative posture. When … read on

  /  Creative Writing


I can relate with students when we ask them to talk about their experience of a meditation sitting and they don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to write about this month. So, instead I chose an image that expresses my state of mind. We can compare this image to a process we might find ourselves in, in meditation; not empty of content, but hard to describe. In it, the variety of experiences do not hold together … read on

  /  Creative Writing, General

Foundation for Mindfulness

Last month I wrote a piece about integrating past practices into your current meditation practice. In my transition from moving meditation to sitting meditation a few things were missing, so I began a search. The search, more apparent to me now, was semi-conscious and included things that I knew I wanted, as well as things that I didn’t even know I was missing. For example, I knew I wanted a practice that welcomed my intense emotions rather than … read on

  /  Creative Writing, Dharma Prompts

A creative process can parallel our meditative process

Over the past two years, I have been drawn to pair creativity and meditation on retreat to see how they fit together.  An experiment really, but I have a premise in mind:  In both meditation and creativity we tend to go back and forth with interest in our experience, the question of doing it right or not, along with pressure to make progress, or have a product to show for our efforts.   Both processes are dynamic, ongoing, and nuanced.  Seclusion … read on

  /  Creative Writing, Guest Contributors

Lost in thought, even Google Maps can’t find me…

On the first evening of a nine day retreat, I was surprised to discover that the retreat had a theme: “meditation and creativity”.  I was initially very intimidated by the encouragement to write or draw something, to produce an object, to “create”.  But seeing and hearing how others were encouraged by the “permission” to represent ourselves in some undefined way, I decided to see if any inspirations would appear and, if so, to follow where … read on

  /  Creative Writing, Guest Contributors

Opera on a Saturday Morning

The Zen center of Los Angeles on a warm Saturday morning June of 1975. I’d come down to ZCLA from my home in Highland Park to practice Zazen with the Sangha. Every available window was open to catch any air that might be stirring. This meant that any stray sound or smell was free to wander in as well; and they did.I was sitting close to a window that faces across a narrow driveway to an … read on

  /  Creative Writing, Guest Contributors


Come now, little old lady. Come and sit quietly here in this rocking chair beside me. Tell me: are you sailing at last into quiet waters, your mind a spacious okay with what is? Your old dog following behind? No! Oh come now! At your age? A new boat? You? crawling through hatches, leaping shore-ward, crashing your vessel into pylons, wharves, channel markers, buoys, and jetties? Come now! Your knees won’t bend You cannot squat … read on

  /  Creative Writing, General


I stopped using the word when I started studying Buddhism. Not because anyone told me to explicitly, but because it seemed to belong to Christianity, my religion of birth (Jesus said it and that meeting is down the hall!). So, I adapted to the language of the Buddha and spoke of compassion, loving-kindness, sympathetic joy, and equanimity. Earlier this year I started picking up the word again, using it and examining my relationship to it. Did it … read on

  /  Creative Writing, Guest Contributors

Sitting Together (a book preview from Wisdom Pubs, Inc.)

By Sumi Loundon Kim I once asked a university psychologist which undergraduates survived crisis better, be it the onset of debilitating depression, addiction, a car accident, or death in the family: those who’d grown up with a spiritual path, or those who didn’t? Without hesitation he said that students with a spiritually grounded childhood, whether they continued with that or not as young adults, not only got through their crisis but also personally grew from … read on

  /  Creative Writing, Guest Contributors

Self Improvement

We like to think that because we have learned to know our various mind states we ought to be able to order up our preferred ones, like on Amazon We think self-awareness should reduce envy or that if we are really good meditators, we won’t feel the sting of envy at all, or the need for more chocolate In any given moment we take on faith the feeling This is Me, rather than seeing how many different … read on