Singing From Mountain to Mountain

By Sara Overton

“…[I]f you are painting my song the way I sing, then it would be like a sky with drifting clouds without having to wonder about the borders in the clouds. So there [are] infinite possibilities in that space of how many different shapes of clouds that will form, or how many clouds that you won’t see… A lot of the…

Finding our Mythic Ground

By Sharon Blackie

We think we make them up, the myths, stories and dreams which so richly define the human imagination. But what if they have an existence that’s independent of us? What if they come to us as psychopomps–a beautiful old word of Greek origins which means “soul guide”? How then do we learn to listen to them, to see them, and…

Art as Spiritual Practice

By Peter Sciscioli

Meredith Monk opened the 2015 Artist and Buddhist Contemplatives gathering with a group vocalization of “AH.” This first sound of the gathering arose out of the silence and moved through all the participants together in a circle in the main hall at Garrison. And it proved a beautiful inspiration for Robert Thurman’s impromptu exposition on “A” during his talk that…

Glimpses From the Healing Spiral of Words

By Annie Finch

The beautiful words you will read below arose in the consciousness of participants in my recent writing workshop at the Garrison Institute. The workshop was based on Healing Rhythms of Words, my system of creative, psychological, and spiritual growth through rhythmical writing. Each of the brief passages here offers a glimpse into one moment of our weekend-long journey through different language…

The Compassionate Bliss of the Artist

By Sara Overton

“Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.” –Percy Bysshe Shelley Tenzin Robert Thurman, speaking at the Artist and Buddhist Contemplatives gathering at the Garrison Institute, offered this idea in a talk titled The Buddha Emanation Body as the Original Buddhist Art Piece. It raises the question, What kind of a world do we want to create? Bob talked about…

Perception As Seed of Poetry

By Reed Bye

My upcoming talk for the Naropa in New York series will center on a question: At the first moment of any sense or mental experience, is the object of the perception perceived simply “as it is,” or is there, in that moment, already an inherent split between the event and the mind noticing it? Can one’s attention to perception be…

The Rhythms of Meaning

By Annie Finch

When you were a child, did you ever chant words to yourself, over and over? Did you love the way that made you feel? I don’t think I’ve ever met a young child who isn’t entranced by the way a word or phrase can turn to magic through rhythm and chant. As we grow, we tend to suppress our love…

extinction aria anne waldman

Anne Waldman: “Extinction Aria”

By Anne Waldman

I felt on call with my poem Extinction Aria, as I wanted to create a kind of sutra for the times, a prayer, an incantation of urgency, a romp through the six realms in Buddhist philosophy. Printer and designer, David Sellers of Pied Oxen, had suggested the idea of a Tibetan stye book—with “pecha,” unbound pages. Pages bound in yellow…