Gathering Together

Earth Day and the Living Planet

The Social Conscience of Memory For those of us who were alive before the 70’s, we must remember. And in doing so, poignantly remind others, speak out tirelessly about our experience of the scarred earth that is forever blazed in our minds and likely still lodged in our bodies, and advocate strongly for mother earth to anyone who will listen — our elected representatives, corporate leaders, and the masses enamored […]

Nickel Tailings, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada © Edward Burtynsky

Photography for Social Change

After the election of November 8, 2016, a healthy majority of Americans feel fear and despair over the impending erosion of our constitutional liberties, the potentially shattering setbacks for our hard-won civil rights, and the likely acceleration of environmental catastrophe. Many people are asking where are we heading? What have we done? And the most important question: What can we do to avert the potential consequences of social and environmental […]

Matisse Cut-Outs, MoMA, 2014

Be Simple but Go Deep: The Cut-Outs of Matisse

I would be the first to admit that art for art’s sake is a limiting concept and that artists cannot ignore the complexities of the time and place in which they live. History has proven that art serves many functions in the world. It teaches us about the realities of other people, other times, other places. It can engender empathy and compassion. It can awaken us to social, natural, and […]

Cup © Nicholas Hlobeczy

Spiritual Practice for a New Generation: Part Two

The Path of the RoninWe can look to the teachings themselves as a means of shedding light on our exploration of spiritual practice for a new generation. Certain standards or measures exist to insure fidelity of transmission from one person to another. Most teachings employ a means of discriminating one’s level of understanding and delineating one’s role within a teaching. A seeker is one who wishes to know, who enters […]

Makapu‘u Lighthouse © David UlrichMakapu‘u Lighthouse © David Ulrich

Education and the Cultivation of Wisdom

An Ever-present Invitation to Ever-greater OpennessAs an educator, I face the question daily: In what way can modern education contribute to the cultivation of wisdom and the search for clarity of thought and perception? Many of my students have confided in me that striving towards independent thought, emotional understanding, and direct perception are noticeably absent from most of their educational experiences in school — and that they are looking for […]

© David UlrichSugar Cane Burn, Maui, HI © David Ulrich, 2001

Can This Kill That?

Digital Technology and the Search for MeaningI admit it. I love electronics. I am one of those that frequent the Apple store during the launch day of new products, as I did with the new iPhone and iPad. I prefer writing on a keyboard and monitor, watching the words flow across the screen seamlessly tethered to my brain. I love working with images on the computer; the speed, flexibility and […]

Kyudo OgasawaraKyudo Ogasawara, photo by Incanus Japan

Greatness and Humility

The Art of the GameI have been reading a marvelous essay on Zen swordsmanship by D.T. Suzuki in the book Zen and Japanese Culture. Swordsmanship teaches coherence, elegance, and purpose. Like most sports, it can—at its best—be employed as a powerful tool for human development. As we approach the Super Bowl, what might we expect from sports that leave lasting injuries on its participants and feed the national ego as […]