I’m interested in Zen as a way that transforms the mind. There’s a dance between innovation and tradition, the way there is in English poetry. I studied and taught Zen in a classical, pretty much Japanese, manner for about 15 years before developing new ways of introducing koans that even people with no experience of meditation can find useful. A koan is a doorway. Strangely enough these imaginative little poems and stories and dialogues open into something more real than the usual stories the mind makes up.
I’m not so interested in Zen as a set of rules and procedures. My experiments have led me to trust people more than once I did, and to teach people to trust their own moves. They are probably not doing it wrong. They are probably OK with their own inner lives and with way of understanding those lives. They seem to find freedom more natural than I had imagined.
For a couple of decades I did Jungian dream work and I have a PhD in psychology. I helped design the pioneering mind-body curriculum in Integrative Medicine at The University of Arizona at Tucson. It was intended to develop a culture for change in medical education. I also helped design the curriculum and train the initial leadership group at Duke Integrative Medicine.
Pieces by John Tarrant