“Who am I?”
This was the first koan I worked with seriously. It was like a trowel in my mind: digging and preparing the way for new growth. For months I’d ask myself this question dozens of times a day, creating and discarding answers before bringing the best of them to my Zen teacher. He would listen intently, ask a question that showed me I still didn’t know, and then ring a bell – signaling me to go back to meditating.
I begin with this anecdote because it says something about where I come from and some of the events that have shaped me. Zen practice is one of the big ones. This koan is also important because the answers generated always fall short. I am not my mind, my body, my fancy degrees, my pretty beard, or any of the other 10,000 things.
This feels like an important reminder as I embark upon this blog. I’m interested in exploring intersections between a number of domains: Paganism, Buddhism, psychology, religion, faith, inter & intra-religious dialogue, multifaith identity, ritual, magic, meditation, and how all of these things contribute to the Great Turning.
Because my training and background impact my view on these things I’ll say a little about them. I first began to deeply engage these topics while getting an MDiv at Naropa University. While there I began to do earth-based ritual as a part of the program as well as with an Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids (OBOD) group. I identify as both Buddhist and Pagan; while I pursue these paths non-syncretically, I do allow the views and practices to inform one another.
I have worked as a chaplain, and am currently pursuing a PsyD at Sofia University. While I have moved from the field of religious studies into psychology, I see my clinical work as an attempt to enact liberation theologies/psychologies.