Category Archives for "Reflections"

Jun 14

The Deal With Dodson (2)

By | People , Reflections , Teachers , Uncategorized

Sometime during the recent Reality Creation workshop I attended that was facilitated by Frederick Dodson, the subject of near-death experiences came up. Dodson said that he’d experienced several. “So why did you come back?” someone wanted to know. Dodson kind of smirked. “To deal with all of you,” he said. Although he said this as a kind of joke, a week or so after the workshop I began to think that maybe he was serious. Or, in other words, that Dodson was a kind of Bodhisattva, or someone who had attained a kind of enlightenment but vowed to keep reincarnating until all sentient beings were free. Now, Boddhisattva is a Buddhist term, one that has a range of fancy definitions on Wikipedia. But if we remove the term from its Buddhist origins, we might recast it as meaning a being that had experienced some sort of awakening, yet for whatever reason chooses to keep mingling with and teaching us. To even entertain the possibility that Dodson or anyone else might be in this state is a kind of departure for me. I’m one who doesn’t believe in such things as “perfect masters” or “fully realized beings.” To be here is to be human, I think, which means to be tainted by the negative pull of the earth. I still think that way but now believe that there’s a kind of middle ground. And that it’s possible to achieve a kind of awakening that it is “woke” but less than perfect. Now, I have no idea what Dodson thinks of all of this. I’m just happy to have learned a thing or two from him.
May 31

About “Negative Capacity”

By | Creativity , Reflections

In a recent conversation with Mark Argent, I learned about the concept of “negative capacity” — a term initially coined by the romantic poet John Keats and later adopted by philosophers, psychotherapists and even practitioners of Zen.The phrase means the ability to perceive, think, and operate without preconceptions. Or, to put it another way, it’s that capacity of being open, without judgement or sense of outcome. This is the capacity that’s present in true, deep conversation and when an artist approaches h/her canvas, not really knowing what’s to happen, but hanging out with a relaxed sense of creative uncertainty.
The concept particularly resonates with me in today’s political climate, where often people talk over one another, not really hearing each other, but instead intent on converting the other person to h/her point of view.
Anyway, somewhere in my recent podcast interview with Mark we talked about this  and admittedly a lot of other things – such as spirituality and contemporary politics).
If you have the patience to listen to my rather long conversation with Argent, you can find it here:
Or visit wikipedia to get a 101 take  negative capacity and let me know what you think!


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