A little holiday gift to you in this end of the year podcast: a guided meditation. Though I rarely did guided meditation in my younger days, I now see it as skillful practice as well as having the potential to develop rapport when done in a group setting. A guided meditation is the opportunity to step into a different perspective for a few minutes, to be coached, or inspired by the mind of another person.
I hope this guided meditation inspires you, and offers another step on your own unique path inward.
Richard Rose has been one of my 5-star teachers since the inception of spiritualteachers.org. He passed away in 2005, but his work influences numerous contemporary teachers. I thought it would be interesting to interview one of his long-time students, Michael Casari, and get a glimpse of life with Richard Rose as well as another person’s view on the key teachings of this self-styled West Virginia Zen master.
The interview concludes with Michael reading several poems from Richard Rose’s book Carillon, so be sure to listen to the end.
Michael’s recommendations for learning more about Richard Rose, include visiting tatfoundation.org, reading Carillon for Rose’s poetry, and the Three Books of the Absolute in the back of The Albigen Papers, [1:17:00]
Michael reads several of Richard Rose’s poems. [1:19:35]
Most of us, I would venture to say, have at some time or other had a feeling that something was present beyond our traditional senses, something without a name, not specific nor particular, but thoroughly present in a manner inexplicable, very near and very far away, beyond our current ability to explain. ~Pattiann Rogers
Pattiann Rogers is most recently the recipient of the John Burroughs Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Nature Poetry, “in recognition of the power and permanence of Rogers’ entire body of work.” Her first book was The Expectations of Light, published in 1981. Since then, Pattiann Rogers has published 15 other books and received numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Rockefeller Foundation residency.
Pattiann Rogers has been called a nature poet, a theological poet, an environment poet, and a spiritual poet. As you’ll see in our interview, she’s really a poet of existence, and the grand paradoxes of a God who refuses to reveal itself, yet whose presence is felt everywhere. She’s equally at home in the celebration and the examination of life, and that is reflected in her poetry which is at turns both ecstatic and probing.
This interview begins with Pattiann Rogers reading several of her poems specifically chosen for listeners of the Journals of Spiritual Discovery podcast.
QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.
Selected Links and Notes from this Episode:
Poems read by Pattiann Rogers in this episode: “Achieving Perspective,” “In Addition to Faith, Hope, and Charity,” “Being Accomplished,” “The Background Beyond the Background,” “The Greatest Grandeur,” “Address: The Archaeans, One Cell Creatures,” “Hail, Spirit,” “The Consequences of Death,” “The Possible Suffering of a God During Creation,” “Goddamn Theology,” and “Inside God’s Eye.”
“I hear and behold god in every object, yet understand him not in the least.” – Walt Whitman [0:15]
Part of confronting the mystery of life is questioning. [14:30]
“I wouldn’t be a poet if I didn’t have a few poems about death.” [24:18]
“When I write poetry I’m singing, when I write prose I’m talking and there’s all the difference in the world in how you can you the language to make the music you need. And sometimes the music itself can direct you to the words you need.” [41:20]
Paying attention to how the body reacts to the placement of words [42:28]
“Keats said, ‘the poetry of earth is ceasing never,’ and that’s the music of it I think, and I’ve wanted to express that music.” [50:45]
“One of the goals of poetry in to expand the use of the language.” [53:50]
“The best poetry opens avenues of thought… and make our perceptions and insights deeper than before.” [54:18]
To have great poets, there must be great audiences, too. ~Walt Whitman
Which quote means to say, thank you, to all of you reading and listening to this site. This month’s podcast is a mini-episode featuring readings of some of my favorite spiritual poetry. For much of my life, I was a person with only a mild appreciation of poetry, such as a few classics by Robert Frost. It wasn’t until I began writing as a spiritual practice, that poetry-like phrases began to appear, as if from nowhere. Since then, I’ve found a deep appreciation for the creative wellspring from which universal ideas emerge and are uniquely expressed by many voices. It’s not hard to find well-crafted poetry, but it is hard to find what I call “spiritual poetry” – that which speaks from the source of our being.
Anything we do with our heart and soul becomes a spiritual endeavor, in spite of ourselves. ~Jerry Wennstrom
One of the striking features of my interview with Jerry Wennstrom is it felt we were in the same room even though we were hundreds of miles apart. There is a sort of innocent intensity about him that charged our entire conversation. He’s at once at ease, yet serious, seemingly going with the flow, yet very precise.
Jerry Wennstrom is an artist, not a spiritual teacher, yet he is obviously a spiritual teacher. Everyone is a teacher, he says.