A MAGAZINE OF ZEN AND THE ARTS

SPECIAL ISSUE • SUMMER 2019

Summer Lightning and the Goddess Dreams

This is an issue inspired by sinking, filling, spilling over. Inspired by water and fire and bewilderment and grief. Inspired by powerful stories of the goddess, of the Tao, that keep us company, through these strong emotions. And inspired, as always, by koans.

This is an issue inspired by sinking, filling, spilling over. Inspired by water and fire and bewilderment and grief. Inspired by powerful stories of the goddess, of the Tao, that keep us company, through these strong emotions. And inspired, as always, by koans.

Issue 4 • Fall Winter 2018

Freely I Watch the Tracks of the Flying Birds

After the Camp Fire in northern California birds were some of the first refugees returning to the scorched land. After the Biblical flood birds were released in search of land: first the raven who decided not to return, then the dove who did. The winged ones have always accompanied us, in our stories and our lives.

The ease with which birdwatching slips into meditation points to a primordial connection between the two. In this issue of Uncertainty Club we explore how birds not only leave tracks across the outer dome of sky, but also soar through our inner heavens. We find that we too are on the wing, held by invisible currents. If we freely watch we can discover our own tracks, we can feel our participation in the unceasing migration.

After the Camp Fire in northern California birds were some of the first refugees returning to the scorched land. After the Biblical flood birds were released in search of land: first the raven who decided not to return, then the dove who did. The winged ones have always accompanied us, in our stories and our lives.

The ease with which birdwatching slips into meditation points to a primordial connection between the two. In this issue of Uncertainty Club we explore how birds not only leave tracks across the outer dome of sky, but also soar through our inner heavens. We find that we too are on the wing, held by invisible currents. If we freely watch we can discover our own tracks, we can feel our participation in the unceasing migration.

Special Issue • June 2018

The Myth We’re In

At Uncertainty Club we care about the arts and the practice of Chan. The territory that links these two is myth. Contemplative practice with imagination—that’s what we’re about.

We are involved in great catastrophic events, fire, flood, hurricanes, school shootings, economic forces, refugees fleeing for their lives. These are beyond our control but we have something to do with them too and they ask for more imagination from us. So we need a vessel in which such disasters can be held, and stories that might have doors in them.

Joan Sutherland has done three tremendous pieces on the myth we are in. It’s her offering right now. We think it’s valuable, helpful, and important and have decided to run a special issue of Uncertainty Club just for her piece.

At Uncertainty Club we care about the arts and the practice of Chan. The territory that links these two is myth. Contemplative practice with imagination—that’s what we’re about.

We are involved in great catastrophic events, fire, flood, hurricanes, school shootings, economic forces, refugees fleeing for their lives. These are beyond our control but we have something to do with them too and they ask for more imagination from us. So we need a vessel in which such disasters can be held, and stories that might have doors in them.

Joan Sutherland has done three tremendous pieces on the myth we are in. It’s her offering right now. We think it’s valuable, helpful, and important and have decided to run a special issue of Uncertainty Club just for her piece.

Issue 3 • Winter/Spring 2018

With Each Stitch, the World Spews Flames

Fire and flames have been close in lately, as near as breathing. Hills burned, and now the fires turn up in our dreams. Our impulse might be to turn away, to tamp things down, to put out every fire we can. But it’s possible to have a relationship to the flames. It begins with friendship, and the simple act of mending. In that spirit, welcome back to Uncertainty Club, and to the remarkable fire that is your life.

Fire and flames have been close in lately, as near as breathing. Hills burned, and now the fires turn up in our dreams. Our impulse might be to turn away, to tamp things down, to put out every fire we can. But it’s possible to have a relationship to the flames. It begins with friendship, and the simple act of mending. In that spirit, welcome back to Uncertainty Club, and to the remarkable fire that is your life.

Issue 1 • Winter 2016

Doing it Wrong

Doing it wrong is one of those things that indicates that we are alive. We chose this theme for the first issue because, well, we like it; it is at the core of our understanding of Zen, and in any endeavor it’s hard to get going unless you are willing to do it wrong. In all “spirituality” there’s the strain of wanting to be pure and correct. It goes along the lines of, “We’re going to get it right – and make sure you get it right, too.”

We’re going in the opposite direction, though. In the world to which koans point, we’ve discovered that it’s better to include the whole of our lives. It’s not about being a believer or about pushing life into a shape that already has a label on it. The life we’re living has many unshapely loose ends, sorrows, and vanities which don’t yet need to be fixed. Our obstacles are the only route into wonder. The life we’re living is not the wrong life.

So how do we do it wrong? If you trust yourself you’ll find the way.

– John Tarrant

Doing it wrong is one of those things that indicates that we are alive. We chose this theme for the first issue because, well, we like it; it is at the core of our understanding of Zen, and in any endeavor it’s hard to get going unless you are willing to do it wrong. In all “spirituality” there’s the strain of wanting to be pure and correct. It goes along the lines of, “We’re going to get it right – and make sure you get it right, too.”

We’re going in the opposite direction, though. In the world to which koans point, we’ve discovered that it’s better to include the whole of our lives. It’s not about being a believer or about pushing life into a shape that already has a label on it. The life we’re living has many unshapely loose ends, sorrows, and vanities which don’t yet need to be fixed. Our obstacles are the only route into wonder. The life we’re living is not the wrong life.

So how do we do it wrong? If you trust yourself you’ll find the way.

– John Tarrant