Category - Meditation and Real Life

Interview with Catherine Just
Music as Presence by Molly Knight Forde
The Evolution from Anger to Spiritual Activism
Activist, Baby, I Was Born This Way
The Fourth Way, Philosophy of Gurdjieff
A Rebel’s Road To Meditation
Reality and “Naturalness” in Training the Wisdom Body with Rose Taylor-Goldfield, Part 2

Interview with Catherine Just

“Don’t Leave Before the
Miracle Happens” 
Photography and Meditative Seeing

an Interview with Photographer Catherine Just


Catherine Just biophoto

I’m delighted to share with you an interview I did with Catherine Just over a few days of email conversation.

I first became aware of Catherine’s photography a few years ago. The first photos I saw were portraits– as well as other photos, some of which can be viewed in this photo gallery.

No descriptions or captions were attached to those first photos I saw. I was drawn in. 

Something deep called out from each one, asking to be witnessed. Viewing these photos took me to a more distant and mysterious place in myself. Echoes and whispers of questions, and a silent knowing beyond words.

My eventual asking of Catherine for an interview was one of the first times I’d ever reached out to someone I’d never had even a brief online conversation with. So reaching out was humbling and took some nerve.

Later, I joined her 4 week photo challenge called “The Daily Miracle” (#thedailymiracle) on Instagram and got to know her a little bit then. In the Daily Miracle, Catherine created such a positive, creative, non-threatening atmosphere encouraged hundreds of participants to be intentional in their approach and to see below the surface of their subject.

I’m so grateful to Catherine for taking the time to share her thoughts and feelings about art, photography, her life story, photography as presence and her beautiful son Max. Her responses were so thoughtful, complete and have basically no resistance in their energy. Just openness and sharing.

I hope you enjoy her words and her photography as much as I do.

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Music as Presence by Molly Knight Forde

Guest Post written by Concert Pianist Molly Knight Forde

I use playing the piano as one of my daily meditation practices because it requires total presence of body, feelings and mind. When everything is lined up, playing the piano becomes a profound event where deeper emotion moves me and I am part of something greater than myself.

The execution of the notes can take months to bring up to tempo and perfect. I must zero in on 4 or 5 difficult measures of music that don’t seem to be working at speed and analyse what the physical problem may be. This professional level of playing requires the utmost efficiency of movement and tremendous relaxation. Too much tension will affect the sound, the flow and the tempo.

I must have a zen like presence to deeply notice the physical status of my body right down to the tips of my fingers and how they make contact with the keys. Playing the piano requires this kind of physical focus.

If I can be present with each movement while engaging a listening feedback loop, I have a seemingly perfect system, but listening after the fact is too late.

I need to be so present that my creative force goes ahead of my fingers and tells them exactly how I want to produce a sound to create any effect. My refined technique becomes the perfect vehicle for spontaneity and direct expression from the heart.

I can only do this if I am in the present moment. Read More

The Evolution from Anger to Spiritual Activism


Photo Credit: Third Eye Arts

This post about my evolution to spiritual activism is the third in a three part series. You can read part one here and part two here:

In 1998 I discovered Yoga, Buddhism and Meditation. Over time, they became my self-care and then my spiritual practices.

Buddhism began to transform the way I saw the world, other people and myself. Compassion became a major intention in my life– along with concepts like interconnection and non-attachment. My relationship to activism began to shift.

My desire for change began to come from a place of love and compassion instead of anger and judgement.

I still ache to heal our world.

But I’ve discovered another way to to go about activism, what I call Pro-Activism, commonly called Spiritual Activism or Engaged Buddhism. Read More

Activist, Baby, I Was Born This Way


My Mom getting Political


I was raised by a single Mom, until age 14 when I left home.

She was a feminist, humanitarian, writer, independent thinker and activist– so I came by my activist nature honestly.

It was a common event in my home to have groups of her engaged friends sitting around the kitchen table, passionately discussing current affairs or injustices and hatching plans to raise awareness.

My mother had no trouble speaking her mind, rocking the boat, or standing up for herself or others who could not. So, naturally, she raised her daughters the same way.

My childhood is full of stories of me defending the underdog or being sent to the office for asking too many questions of my teachers.

As I grew older, the injustices of the world entered my radar and I took certain causes to heart. As an empath, I felt others’ pain very deeply and tried to use my scrappy nature to help.

My earliest protests were often solo. Read More

The Fourth Way, Philosophy of Gurdjieff

Guest Post by Molly Knight Forde

mr g diagramMany profound and life changing moments of my life have occurred at meditation retreats centered around The Fourth Way. These methods spun out of the idea that we can work “in the world” as opposed to retreating from the world.

It is called the Fourth Way because it is not just the way of the Fakir, transformation through the body, nor the Monk who uses prayer and contemplation of the Heart, nor the Yogi who practices the Stilling of the Mind.

The Fourth Way combines all three methods through various means to be done in everyday life.

“It has no specific forms or institutions and comes and goes controlled by some particular laws of its own.” G. I. Gurdjieff

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A Rebel’s Road To Meditation



When you picture “Meditation”….
what sort of image pops into your head?

As a rebel and activist, I had never considered meditation. That was hippie shit.  Something people did in ashrams dressed in white.

I was a questioner, an activist, ass-kicker and a heavy metal lover.

“Meditation? who the hell had time for that? “ Read More

Reality and “Naturalness” in Training the Wisdom Body with Rose Taylor-Goldfield, Part 2

This interview with Rose Taylor Goldfield is the second of a 3 part series on “Training the Wisdom Body”.

(I interviewed Rose in her home, looking out a large window at the San Francisco cityscape on a sunny early-Springtime day. We talked about her Buddhist background, her teachers, this special type of Tibetan Buddhist exercise, the ideas grounding it and the “Wisdom Sun” community she co-directs with her husband Ari….)

Training the Wisdom Body Cover--originalThe first interview shined light on Meditative Movement as taught by Rose Taylor-Goldfield in her brilliant book “Training the Wisdom Body: Buddhist Yogic Exercise.” (That’s Rose above in the cover photo. ) We looked at the practical side of the exercises and with the last 3 questions, got to know Rose a little better as a person.

In Part 2 below, we sink into the meaning behind the physical practices and the theory behind the “how to” instruction. The feelings and realities we uncover while practicing the forms and what it means to join with them authentically and in the moment.

The Interview, Part 2:

Tina: I want to try to avoid getting too academic here, because what we’re about to discuss really is the beauty of the practice…the meditative life that keeps the movement from being just empty form. So here goes….Can you help us laypeople out with understanding the link between “Buddhism” and “Yoga” in language and history?

Picture-120Rose: In Tibetan, the word for Buddhist is nangpa sangjehpa. Nangpa means “insider” in the sense of one who turns inward to examine her own mind as a practice. You can see how the term Buddhist from this definition could be applied to many things. In this context, “yoga” isn’t referring to a separate tradition. It’s actually a translation of the Tibetan word naljor, which is used to translate the Sanskrit word yoga. It means to “join with reality,” seeing what’s actually there, being in accord with reality instead of covering it over with our own ideas and beliefs.

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COPYRIGHT © 2014 Tina Foster, Meditation for Non-Meditators. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.