On Second Thought / Creative Writing

  /  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

Take Back Monkey Mind

I remember being in the jungle in Guatemala, looking up at the lush canopy of overgrowth and being mesmerized by spider monkeys swinging gracefully from branch to branch. I never knew where each monkey would go next or how they would move. This seemed like freedom and it looked good to me. So how then did monkey mind get such a bad rap in the meditative and mindfulness world? I purposely titled this piece “Take … read on

  /  Creative Writing, Dharma Prompts

When Our World Breaks Apart…

When our world breaks apart, it is hard to remember what a privilege it is to be a human being with desire and motivation for understanding, reflection, and meditation practice. It is an advantage, something to be grateful for, not only because so many never have the opportunity, but also because many who do lack the inclination. Linda Modaro  

  /  Creative Writing, Dharma Prompts

What is Meditation?

Sitting with breathing with body aches with pillows, bright lights with wondering if you can really call this meditation, it feels like driving on the 405. Sitting and sleeping Sitting and ruminating Sitting and waiting not moving, not running, not doing anything. Sitting and making to do lists, redecorating the kitchen, writing an email to Soma, did she get stood up on Valentine’s day or not? Sitting wallowing Sitting swallowing Sitting and forgetting, and forgetting, … read on