Internal Challenges: What is Really Happening?

Most of the inquiries I get are about energetic problems people are having.  Sometimes it shows up as headaches or anxiousness or energetic sensitivity or breathing problems.  Or it can present as stomach issues, shaking, abrupt temperature changes in the body,  insomnia, or a deep need to discover the meaning of life. The main thing…

Describing Traditional Rinzai Koan Training

I spent my twenties in Monasteries in Japan and The United States. Being a Zen monk is kind of like being a primordial energy wizard. Imagine spending twenty-four hours a day focusing on something that most of the world does not know exists. Zazen (Zen Meditation) is a way to tap into this great life energy,…

Zhan Zhuang, Standing Like a Tree

One practice that really helped me in the beginning to go deeper into my zazen, and continues to keep me healthy in my life every day, is a type of Chi Kung first introduced to me in the monastery by a fellow training person.  It is Zhan Zhuang, “Standing Like a Tree” and it involves…

Second Breath, Breath of Life: Craniosacral Therapy Meets Zen

“I can say that as the Breath of Life emerges from a depth of Stillness, one experiences heart-opening radiance and compassion, a sense of great spaciousness and peace, a depth of love and interconnection, and a perception of a Presence that seems to enfold, uphold and maintain life.”  Franklyn Sills In this post, I’d like…

Simple Tips: Finding Joy in Daily Practice

My hope is to inspire people to find a way to daily enjoy engaging with their unique inner process.  I’m talking about sitting down and feeling our bodies and being present.  Or maybe, for some, it could be standing still.  Or even with very simple movement. But to find a way to make it their…

Standing the in the Dark, Giggling

“Always now – just now – come into being. Always now – just now – give yourself to death. Practicing this is Zen practice.”  Soko Morinaga Everyone wants to figure everything out.  Everyone wants to have the real true thought to explain our lives with meaning.  Most of us want some extreme, an absolute, to…

Video: Life at Sogenji and My Ordination

This video shows a snippet of the life at Sogenji Rinzai Zen Monastery in Okayama, Japan.  It is an unfinished NHK (Japanese Television Station) program, so the editing is not ideal.  It shows a lot of life there, with informal meals, a sense of the work, some footage of the beautiful temple.  It also gives…

Breathing from the Belly: Tanden, a Great Rolling Ball

A friend recently asked me to help clarify the tanden, also known as lower Dantien. This is a big subject.  I have written about it before here. I will try to briefly convey a sense of what it is like to feel the tanden, develop the tanden in sitting and everyday life, and what it…

Letting the Body Fully Express

Doing internal energy work throughout the day can be really simple.  We can ask ourselves, “How is my body trying to fully express itself energetically right now?” Our bodies are like kinked hoses, and we are kinked where we are mentally and emotionally stuck.  Allowing the body to fully express this energy means learning to…