Longing for Light: Into the Heart of Vision

Kealaikahiki Point, Kaho‘olawe Hawai‘i © David UlrichKealaikahiki Point, Kaho‘olawe Hawai‘i © David Ulrich

A month ago, I wrote an essay on this blog, Personal Stories in Word and Image, about my concerns and questions in attempting to write a memoir.  Now, a month later, I have completed six chapters and integrated an older manuscript into a book. The writing flowed; I felt in a white heat as the words spilled on to the page after thirty years of gestation. Never before has a […]

Mirrors and Windows

RothkoTryptichMark Rothko, Rothko Chapel

Finding Wholeness through ArtTruth is found in paradox. Nature seeks balance. Where there is a push, there is a pull. We cannot come to a mature point of view without entertaining the opposing side; we cannot stand for something without standing against something else. As we know from many conflicting positions, truth often lies in the middle, partaking of both sides and fully embracing neither. Our perceptions and thoughts are […]

Personal Stories in Word and Image

I look at a great deal of art. And have read my share of books over a lifetime of inquiry. When I was young, I was fascinated with reading about the civil war. That quickly led to reading biographies of the heroes and heroines who shaped our country and our world. When I was ten years old, my parents conceded to my well articulated whining for an adult library card. […]

Intersecting Currents: The Artist and the Community

Sistine Chapel, Michaelangelo

We live in an increasingly interdependent world that compels each of us to take responsibility: for ourselves, each other, and planet earth. Beyond our individual creative efforts, there is a world out there—that we interact with, that provides the material for our work, and that we communicate with through the results of our creative efforts. We are in debt to the society and the people who have informed us, shaped […]

Greatness and Humility

Kyudo OgasawaraKyudo Ogasawara, photo by Incanus Japan

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 […]

A Patch of Blue Sky

Matthieu RicardMatthieu Ricard © David Ulrich

Excerpts from an interview with Matthieu RicardThe full text of this interview appeared in Parabola magazine Vol. 37, no. 2, Summer 2012, titled Alone and Together. DU: Matthieu, we are trying to understand how a larger intelligence is available to us, and how we can come together to contact this intelligence. Philosopher Jacob Needleman asks: “How to come together and think and hear each other in order to touch, or […]

Black Marble Earth

USA at night, courtesy NASA

Beauty and TerrorWe stand among the many that have been touched by the sublime view of Black Marble Earth, created by NASA in late 2012. According to NASA, “The images were captured by the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership Satellite, which made 312 passes around the Earth in order to photograph every bit of the hemisphere.” Time Magazine comments: “Strangely, the nation’s most populous city of New York shows up darker […]

Lives of Quiet Desperation

© Hengki Koentjoro

:Healing our world for the childrenWe the people” begins the Declaration of Independence. I can think of no more relevant phrase today in response to the 27 victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Something unites us all: perhaps it is our common humanity, the similarity of our DNA, our inner spiritual roots. I really don’t know. But our collective body is palpable, real, and knowable as […]