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Zen Studies Podcast Review
An old Life in Hell cartoon by Matt Groening (of The Simpsons fame) features a couple of his line-drawn rabbits whirled about in a “Love Blender.” A list of things that go into this metaphorical “smoothie of love” accompany the drawing: self-love, unspeakable craving, and penchant for smurf dolls being among the many ingredients. A character to the side emits the “popular street cry,” “I’ve just been through the love blender!”
This image was, somehow, relegated to the back of my subconscious for a while. However, it was pushed to the forefront when I listened to the episode of The Zen Studies podcast titled Meditation is NOT About Stopping Thoughts. Domyo Burk, a Soto Zen teacher of the Bright Way Zen community in Portland, OR, and author of several “Idiot’s Guides” to meditation — refers several times in this episode to “The Thought Blender.” Imagery like this, along with Domyo’s friendly and clear voice are among the many things that make this podcast a joy to listen to. I can relate to the image of the thought blender. I’ve been through the thought blender. I know all too well what’s in my particular thought blender smoothie recipe (trust me, you don’t want to borrow this one.)
What first drew me to choose this podcast among the multitude of other meditation, Buddhist, and Zen podcasts now available at the push of a button? I’m a bit sheepish to admit that it was the podcast’s featured image: a friendly mutt, seated on a Zafu. During this challenging time, and at that moment, I wanted to listen to something meaningful, but also friendly and approachable. The dog seemed to represent both!
But that’s not to say that the podcast is “Buddhism Lite.” Domyo covers a wide span of subjects: Zen texts like Hongzhi’s Guidepost of Silent Illumination and serious topics, such as death. These are presented alongside items approachable for “beginners,” like the one included here (shouldn’t we all try to think like beginners?)
However, the podcast still approaches more complicated or potentially difficult topics n a clear, understandable — and friendly manner.
I don’t think that, in this lifetime, I’ll get my thought blender to stop for more than some fleeting and beautiful moments. But I do find that meditation can slow my thought blender down — and can make me more aware of what I put into it.
But I think that this podcast will be one that stays in my “subscribed” list. And it’s one that will, perhaps, add some beneficial thoughts to my mental smoothie.
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