Episode Description: In this dharma talk, Natalie Goldberg and Wendy Johnson begin their writing retreat Mind of Autumn where they set the tone by stating, “Autumn calls us to a still and silent place, and beckons us to sit back and observe a little deeper.” Natalie begins by sharing her challenges when losing things, yet reflects on this as a way to deepen her practice of not knowing. This brings her even deeper into her contemplative practice, which can often be an opening to her writing.
Wendy then reflects on how sad it is that we discriminate between literature and Zen, or farming and Zen and to not see the resonance – to not see the dynamic connection. She explores the world of farming and the food that sustains our lives interwoven with the world of writing when asking, “What are these connections between the autumn harvest and literature?” She then connects Natalie’s discussion on lost items with a quote from the poem In Passing by Lisel Mueller, “How swiftly the strained honey of afternoon light flows into darkness, and the closed bud shrugs off its special mystery in order to break into blossom, as if what exists, exists so that it can be lost and become precious.”
They finish with a focus on the autumn solstice, where the dark and light are in balance with each other and how this balance manifests in our lives.
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Natalie Goldberg is the author of fourteen books, including Writing Down the Bones, which has sold over one million copies and has been translated into fourteen languages. In February...
Wendy Johnson is a Buddhist meditation teacher and organic gardening mentor who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Wendy has been practicing Zen meditation for thirty-five years and has led...
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