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April 19, 2019—April 21, 2019

John Tarrant: Into the Mystery: Cultivating Not Knowing and Creativity as Acts of Leadership

We try to get a handle on life and pin things down. Life, however, keeps changing. The old Zen teachers thought a lot about the apparent impossibility of most problems and taught people to depend on uncertainty and not-knowing. They taught us to enter an area of difficulty without having to know beforehand how it’s all going to work out.
Instead of shining a small beam of a flashlight into the night, they found ways to move about in the darkness with curiosity and verve. These teachers liked freedom and adaptability. They also thought that the most difficult and disturbing problems are actually on your side, and can be seen as gates to living with less fear and reactivity. Naturally, this means learning to see more creativity and kindness in even the most unexpected and challenging places. Their stories and meditations became the Zen koan path. You don’t need any experience in meditation to take this path. This is a place to look for sweetness when it seems in short supply and ideas when the old ones have run out.


John Tarrant wrote Bring me the Rhinoceros & Other Zen Koans That will Save Your Life and The Light Inside the Dark: Zen, Soul & The Spiritual Life, as well as the Zenosaurus Course In Koans online. John is a Zen Roshi and an innovator in Zen as a path that everyone can find useful. He brings ancient navigation tools into the heart of people’s lives and deepest questions.

He has a PhD in psychology and is the director of Pacific Zen Institute—developing a culture of artists, leaders, physicists, physicians in a community that is committed to transformation. John worked to design leadership programs in Integrative Medicine at Duke and The University of Arizona at Tucson. He likes poetry, herding dogs, and sailing.

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