For folks wanting to connect with what I'm doing, there is a podcast of my interview with Contemplify, a series that "kindle the examined life through artful musings with scholars, creatives and master teachers. Each episode delivers a subtly intoxicating exchange on the contemplative lifestyle with practical takeaways to emulate in daily life."
Podcast here: https://bit.ly/2ExEivp
Here is an excerpt of the interview by Paul Swanson.
PS: What was the impetus for you to go back to Japan?
"It was the deepest sense of calling I have ever experienced in my life. I had a vision of a plant that had been uprooted and moved to another soil and in that soil it had grown to a certain degree but there were ways in which it had not been able to grow in that soil and I had a sense of uprooting it and moving it back to its original soil and that something new and different and unrealized would come forth from that replanting.
I think I had reached a sense of lack of purpose, lack of direction, feeling I didn't know what to do with my life and what emerged from that was a deep sense of calling, a return home, return to roots. And it was nourished by cultural things happening at the time, such as Alex Haley's novel Roots, and television show, and the return of many people to their ethnic roots, feeling that there was something that could be gained from that. So I wasn't alone in that, I had support in that movement back to japan and what I could discover by returning.
PS: What was it like for you as you listened to that call? It's one thing to hear the call, and be emboldened by it, and it's another to follow through. What was it like to have that calling and actually act on it? What was it like to step on soil of Japan and realize you are there?
"I think that's when the whole sense of what is called 'beginners mind' became true to me. It felt like I was able to return with fresh eyes and things in life were suddenly new and exciting and inspiring. So many things I encountered in daily life were helping me to feel alive and feel that things were happening every day. But you know, that state is not an easy state to be in. There is some description of it in anthropology as a liminal state, and that state is not one of complete serenity and balance but there is also great turmoil, as things feel like they're in flux, constantly changing. And there's a great challenge to respond to that, because you're feeling at times that you want to put on the breaks and ground yourself, so you feel a constant tension. It was exciting and it was also challenging to keep grounded."