Webinar: “The Paths in the Underworld” with John Tarrant

By Garrison Institute

The Garrison Institute welcomed John Tarrant to the virtual sanctuary for a live koan seminar.

A student asked the great teacher Zhaozhou: “When times of great difficulty visit us, how should we meet them?

The teacher said, “Welcome.”

You can tell we’re all on an underworld journey by the anxiety coming like damp out of the walls, the constraint and fear all around and also by the new possibilities opening up. The underworld has its treasures unavailable to those who never visit. It’s a time when we are confined in a vessel and water and fire and great forces are at work. But the simplicity of our confinement is also good, there is a freedom in only doing what is most true. When you been to the underworld you can speak the truth, you can see what you really must do, and what and whom you really love. You can feel the time. Most of all we can accompany each other.

Impossible tasks, mysterious journeys, and instructive dreams belong to this time. So does unexpected help. And as we move in the narrow lanes, the stars appear again, the green leaves, the eyes of animals, and we are not alone. I find it is a beautiful as well as a terrifying time.

The world is “the vale of soul making” – John Keats


John Tarrant is the director of Pacific Zen Institute. He teaches koans, dreamwork and poetry. He wrote Bring me the Rhinoceros & Other Zen Koans that will Save Your Life and The Light Inside the Dark: Zen, Soul & The Spiritual Life. He writes regularly for Lion’s Roar and publishes in poetry magazines. John is a Zen Roshi who developed new ways to teach people with no experience of Zen or even of meditation. John has a PhD in Psychology and for many years had a practice in Jungian dream work. He helped design and develop the pioneering Art of Medicine curriculum for the Fellowship in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, developed the leadership program for physicians and executives at Duke Integrative Medicine, and in addition designed a mind-body-arts curriculum for the large medical residency system at Duke Health.     


Your support matters.Our vision for a more just, compassionate world has never felt more urgent. While we cannot share physical space together, we remain committed to a shared practice of social and spiritual care. We are thankful for the opportunity to create a virtual sanctuary during this time of physical distancing. If you feel called to support our work, we welcome your tax-deductible contribution toward our efforts.

Share your reflections on social media using the hashtag #GarrisonVirtualSanctuary, and if you have any questions about this event or others, please contact us at events@garrisoninstitute.org.

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