Chattering Mind

A thoughtful blogger, meditation teacher, Soto Zen monk, and Dharma store owner named Genryu has asked if any CM readers see the irony in the fact that I quoted Chögyam Trungpa’s famous passage on spiritual materialism (examining how some people collect spiritual beliefs as if they were attractive antiques) in a blog that–I know–sometimes seem to trade belief systems like Pokemon cards. Genryu didn’t say that last part. I’m saying that. But the irony he points to is lost least on Chattering Me! I am the antique shop. That’s why I posted the quote.

I was raised a Presbyterian. I practice yoga. I married a Jewish man, am raising my sons as Jews (they were dipped in a ritual bath and converted), and recently celebrated my 50th birthday in silence at a Sufi retreat center. In my free time, I read the work of Ken Wilber, a philosopher who has developed an integral approach to spirituality. And I work for (a website my husband co-founded) that is truly–and deliberately–a spiritual smorgasbord. (My favorite artist is Joseph Cornell, the ultimate appreciator of spiritually charged ephemera.)

I know I must drive the Zen Buddhist bloggers crazy, but I deliberately chose the name “Chattering Mind” since I–like many people–am both lost and found, in my monkey mind then calm, chasing my tail and then standing tall. Pieces and then all of a piece. I confess to a multi-faith mindset. And an only recently resettled meditation practice.

Years ago, Utne Reader ran a hugely important cover story on the topic of whether or not people could create their own religion by mixing and matching ideas and practices that made sense to them. The editors’ answer to the question was, in the end: NO, you can’t make it up. Or you could, but you’d be a fool to. Choose one. Go deep.

I’m getting there, and observing progress. But I’m made so strangely happy by all the roadside distractions; I love it that I have readers from different faith traditions, or no particular faith at all. Genryu! Please! Come to my house! It’s decorated with stuff from antique stores and flea markets. Not the Zen look! But it has a warm embrace!

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