Dharma and Darwin

November 5th, 2016

Introduction

My talk today follows in the tracks of fellow sangha members who’ve given us presentations on the convergence of scientific inquiry and the insights of traditional Buddhist precepts in the area of neurobiology and brain science. I want to explore the ways the theory of evolution that has provided a framework for all biological research during the last 150 years illuminates and is illuminated by my experience of meditation and my rudimentary understanding of Buddhist doctrine. Read the rest of this entry »

I’ll Remember April

October 21st, 2016

(April Wells 1943-2016)

I loved you for your name–
the bloom of youth, the standing daffodil.

I loved you for your voice, in full Canadian lilt
Its high and low note chord.

I loved you for your strength,
To clear the brush and split the wood,
and raise those kids alone
in the dark house across the road.

I loved you for the gifts you brought—grace and song and dance

kenneth to left, april wells, debbie keane, steven marx, backrow joann sorenson, jan christie

And for the gifts you gave–confidence and joy

I loved you for your laugh.

1982aprilwells

Labor Day

September 9th, 2016

A holiday to celebrate
The end of holiday.
I sit cross legged in the closet
Trying to subdue thoughts
that tumble like laundry.
A work in progress
Thirty minutes, every morning,
Forty years.
Or is it only labor
Watching the clock?
I face the closed door
Of an antique washstand
That holds the ashes
Of two who made me.
Creation or endurance
Their lives and mine,
Headed for now
Or never?

Portals: Jeanne Lyons’ Show at ArtSpring August 2016

August 11th, 2016

At the entrance to her current show of drawings and sculptures at ArtSpring, Jeanne Lyons greets the visitor with a verbal introduction as dense and suggestive as the visuals lining the gallery’s labyrinthine walls:

… the pieces in this exhibit portray portals, doorways into other realms, of one kind or another. Compassionate curiosity and a willingness to suspend what we think we know can lead us into unknown lands where we discover a much vaster world. Anything that we experience in the moment, whether we consider it “positive” or “negative,” can be a portal when approached in this way.

Following her direction, at the bottom of the stairway leading downward my gaze was drawn by “portal #4,” an image I recognized from the tiny version I’d seen on the Gallery’s website.

portal4

Its flat bilateral and concentric symmetry focused on a blank pink central bullseye. But soon the cool geometry of curved and pointed shapes gave way to a thick surface texture of scratches and hand-applied pigment. Then, as another passage of the artist’s statement came to mind, the whole image popped into three dimensions:

I have been a midwife for over 30 years. Currently I am an instructor in the Midwifery Program at the University of British Columbia. Midwifery is an art and a science. In this field, an area of particular interest to me is incorporation of the arts into the teaching of health care.

Whether intended or not, this “doorway into other realms” struck me as the portal between prenatal and postnatal life, regarded from either side. Read the rest of this entry »