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Musical Beginnings

Several Mondays ago, a friend of mine invited me to attend a meditation group she was hosting for local musicians and their friends. When I arrived at the small church in West Tulsa, I took a seat in a small circle of folding chairs. The leader of the group mentioned that he had studied under Jon Kabat-Zinn and then invited everyone in the group to introduce themselves. I was surprised to learn that almost all of the musicians in attendance had never even attempted meditation before. In gentle and supportive words, the leader of the group invited us into stillness with the ringing of a bell, and a wonderful silence filled the room. After a brief period lasting about ten minutes, the leader r

Should Meditation Be Considered a Form of Psychotherapy?Dr. Michael Kampschaefer

This is the first of a two or three part exposition of a point of view regarding the current wave of popular interest in what has been referred to predominantly as “mindfulness” practice. In the following essay, I hope to clarify what appears to be, in the mind’s of some, a natural confusion between two separate but related realms: meditation and psychotherapy. From the standpoint of a long career as a psychologist/psychoanalyst as well as many years of Zen practice, I hope to shed some light on this subject by referring to several articles, one quite old and the other fairly newer, by psychologist John (Jack) Engler (1983, 2003), having to do with the development of a relatively secure sen

Sandokai (Part 1)

The Sandokai also known as The Meaning of Sameness and Difference or The Identity of the Relative and the Absolute is a Chinese poem written

Sandokai (Part 1)

The Sandokai also known as The Meaning of Sameness and Difference or The Identity of the Relative and the Absolute is a Chinese poem written in the eighth century by Zen master Sekito Kisen. This poem is an essential part of the Soto Zen liturgy. The intention of the Sandokai was to clear up an inaccurate doctrinal dispute that arose following the death of the Sixth Patriarch. There was and argument over which was better, the Northern (gradual enlightenment) or Southern (sudden enlightenment) Schools of Zen. The many schools or sects of Zen were lost in disagreement. Because these schools were involved in dualistic ideas of right and wrong teaching, they lost the significance of their pra

2020 New Year's Message

Dear Friends, As we welcome the new year and the new decade of the 2020’s, with a heart full of gratitude to each and everyone of you, I convey my deep-felt wishes and prayers for peace and well-being for everyone. On this occasion, allow me to offer some notes on how our practice of cultivating stillness in Zen meditation may shed some light on living in our world today. Defying the unsettling message given by the media on the state of the world as bleak, depressing, and on the verge of collapse, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof calls the year 2019 as “the best year ever.” We ask in near disbelief: how so? In writing thus, he does not turn a blind eye on the disturbing thing

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