On Comments

by | Feb 7, 2018 | 4 comments

“Will this be easy to maintain?” 

While designing this website, this question arose a lot. While I did hope the site would become a useful resource for us, it was not something I could afford to spend hours updating. So again and again I voiced these words – and many decisions reflect their influence. This is why, for instance, there has been no comments section here. “Let me get familiar with the workload,” I remember saying. “Then I’ll reconsider.”

For the most part, this has proven an appropriate course of action. Though the site is relatively easy to update, a notable learning curve has sloped in front of me this past year. Figuring out how to navigate the host’s catalogue of ‘Frequently Asked Questions’, to offer just one example, has required a fair time investment. So I have been satisfied with the decision – until recently.

Putting up the last few posts, I found myself wanting to hear from you. ‘What is your experience of life after a program?’ I’ve wondered. ‘What nurtures your practice? Why do you meditate?’ One of the main motivations behind the blog involves exploring how the teachings manifest and are understood within everyday life. So I keep asking myself, ‘What is your sense of this?’

Given this yearning, I am excited to announce the opening of a comments section here. Now, in addition to reading my most recent sense of the contemplation above, we will all have an opportunity to receive yours – or at least the sense of every ‘you’ who is inspired to offer something on these pages.

In a recent Dharma Ocean email, I wrote the following: “We are a lineage of householders. Rather than living in monasteries and following prescribed schedules of practice and study, rather than residing in the dedicated solitude of retreat, we are householders. We work. We pay bills. We meet friends for tea and drive kids to hockey. All of which raises an interesting inquiry: How are we going to do this?”

While there are no fixed answers to this question, one way we can do ‘this’ is by giving the work a little more space in our lives. To be more specific, one way we deepen our connection with this somatic lineage is by allowing ourselves time to consider what is offered here, time to share our own experience. We are mixing our lives with the dharma in doing so and enriching our experience of each.

I trust you will enjoy this new feature. It has been added to this post, of course, and will be part of all subsequent entries. Comments are also open for everything that has come before, allowing us a chance to go back, revisit, and reconsider. In order to facilitate a measure of ease around posting, I will be moderating this section of the site to ensure the broad outlines of civil discourse are respected. As this means offerings may take a day or two to appear, please be patient.

All in all, I am very excited by this development. While the reasons for my excitement are many, their essence is really quite simple: I look forward to hearing from you soon.

– Neil


  1. Well, old friend, I for one commend both the waiting period and the experiment with creating a virtual space here in which we can converse. Your writing invites contemplation, always, and I bet many folks will have wonderful reflections and thoughts to share here. I find myself wondering about something you said outside of these blog posts. I’m paraphrasing from memory, but it was something like, "Web design is a kind of unseen world work." As I take on this role of digital guide and web designer more fully as my career path, I wonder every. single. day. — "How do I do this?" This, contributing to and co-creating a digital world, whilst remaining fully in the service of being in the world that engages every one of our senses, through our bodies? That’s what I’m sitting with right now…I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter, whenever you have time.

    • Considering your question today, Emily, I felt another blog post bubbling away. My sense is you are right on track with that yearning to remain "in the service of being in the world (in a way) that engages every one of our senses, through our bodies". Somehow we need to manifest this in all we do; bring the ‘unseen’ wisdom of the soma into our everyday. How?!? My guess is it takes a lot of attention and diligence (ie: practice). At the same time, I bet it’s far simpler than I usually imagine.

  2. "We are a lineage of Householders". I like that. It stuck with me all day. For me this this re-framing helped ease my grasping at an ideal (i.e., romanticizing the idea of having access to a traditional practice setting or going into long retreat ) rather than working with the rich feedback loop of family, modern distractions and professional relationships. Thanks Neil! And by the way, I miss your class and Sangha in Oak Bay!

    • I’m glad this stuck, Todd. As you note, the notion of ‘house holding’ as spiritual path is both liberating and affirming. Personally, I contemplate this a lot: How can / does everyday life enrich this journey? Giving this a few moments shifts my sense of family, work and so on, and my sense of what we sometimes pigeonhole as ‘spirituality’.


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