Allowing the Felt Sense to Find Its Voice

A beautiful, big, black horse. Photo by Erik-Jan Leusink on Unsplash

I am grateful for the excellent company my article, “Allowing the felt sense to find its voice: Using Imagination to deepen daily experience” enjoys in the latest edition of Creative Dharma.

Ronn Smith interviews Stephen Batchelor, who discusses how two novels by the Icelandic writer, Jón Kalman Stefánsson, are wonderful examples of how literary fiction can help us embrace life in all its existential challenges, as well as develop a better sense of another culture. There’s a link to Suzanne Franzway’s response to Ronn Smith’s interview of Matty Weingast, author of The first free women: poems of the early Buddhist nuns, that is the most thoughtful, balanced critique of the book I have read so far, part of a highly contentious debate. There is also a wonderful reflection by Suzanne Trevains on the relationship between her dharma practice and writing poetry that shares key themes with my article, the way language can deepen our experiencing:

Dharma study and meditation practice have led gradually to a greater sense of stability and perhaps paradoxically, increased porousness to the flux of experience; writing poetry is for me an attempt to bring this grounded and receptive sensibility into relationship through language, by evoking something which is rooted in embodied experience but is not purely personal.

Suzanne Trevains, “On the Way to Getting Out of the Way,” CD#8

I love Trevain’s poem “‘Make of yourself a light’ said Siddhartha …” that follows these reflections, how she contrasts the challenge of facing the existential truth:

that everything changes
and all that we love we must lose

With how this can lead to:

here by the morning river
with the early sun
forging a ferry of light
across the dappled water
it’s hard to believe
we’re on our own in this

maybe we are meant
to throw ourselves in
and come up breathing light
from the darkness
from the depths of the riverbed

My article starts by describing what I continue to learn from a dream I had of riding a big, beautiful black horse down from the hills into a lovely Mediterranean town full of friendly, welcoming people. I highlight how Eugene Gendlin’s philosophy of the implicit and its psychological application, experiential focusing, can help us draw on the creativity that makes ordinary life possible in order to transform our experiencing and engagement in life. I point to the continuity between how the secular Buddhists Stephen Bachelor and Winton Higgins (whose work has inspired Creative Dharma) draw on twentieth century philosophers such as Martin Heidegger and how Gendlin carried the legacy of Heidegger and twentieth century philosophy further.

You can read the newsletter and my article by clicking here.