August 9, 2022

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Henry Shukman — Zen, Tools for Awakening, Ayahuasca vs. Meditation, Intro to Koans, and Using Wounds because the Doorway (#531)

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“There’s something about deep wounding that can be a pathway to deep, deep love. It’s a very beautiful thing when the wound becomes the doorway.”

— Henry Shukman

Henry Shukman (@mountaincloudzencenter) teaches mindfulness and awakening practices to a variety of scholars from all traditions and walks of life. Henry is an appointed trainer within the Sanbo Zen lineage and is the Guiding Teacher of Mountain Cloud Zen Center. He has an MA from Cambridge and an MLitt from St Andrews and has written a number of award-winning books of poetry and fiction.

Henry’s essays have been revealed in The New York Times, Outside, and Tricycle, and his poems have been revealed in The New Republic, The Guardian, The Sunday Times (UK), and London Review of Books. He has taught meditation at Google, Harvard Business School, UBS, Esalen Institute, Colorado College, United World College, and plenty of different venues. He has written of his personal journey in his memoir One Blade of Grass: Finding the Old Road of the Heart, a Zen Memoir.

Henry has additionally not too long ago created a brand new meditation program, Original Love, which goals to offer a broad, inclusive path of progress via meditation.

Please take pleasure in!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Podcast Addict, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, or in your favourite podcast platform.

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The transcript of this episode can be found here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

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What was your favourite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.


Want to listen to one other episode with somebody who depends on Zen to get issues executed? Have a hearken to my dialog with Zen Habits’ Leo Babauta through which we talk about uncertainty coaching, embracing the suck, behavior breaking and forming, standing out from the competitors in a crowded area, unschooling, and much more.


  • Connect with Henry Shukman:

Mountain Cloud Zen Center | LinkedIn | Facebook | Instagram


  • Why did Henry as soon as establish with Typhon, the mythological beast who lived below the volcano Etna, and the way did this result in his first foray into meditation? [06:13]
  • How inspecting the deep wound that outcomes from childhood trauma has the potential to develop into a doorway to deep love (and what so usually stops this from occurring). [09:51]
  • What was Henry’s introduction into the world of meditation? [15:19]
  • What does Henry imply by the time period “awakening?” [16:40]
  • Is awakening a repeatable phenomenon, or is it one thing that solely must happen as soon as? Henry conveys how Zen grasp Yamada Koun described it, and shares his personal first expertise. [20:02]
  • Was Henry below the affect of any substances when this occurred? In retrospect, what does he suppose introduced it on? [32:12]
  • Was Henry later capable of replicate this state of awakening at will, or management it in any method? [36:17]
  • How experimenting with jhana meditation introduced Henry to a state just like what he’d skilled the very first time, and why he thinks this will likely have occurred. [38:10]
  • What occurred through the yr following that first expertise? [40:33]
  • In Henry’s expertise, how would possibly an awakening be distinguished from what a psychiatrist with a DSM desk reference would possibly categorize as a psychotic episode? [43:41]
  • Why the trendy Western embrace of Eastern spirituality isn’t with out its hazards. [46:36]
  • Why awakening doesn’t require us to develop into hermits and dwell away from the world, and what Henry discovered whereas roaming the countryside as a teen being mentored by an “old school tramp.” [49:38]
  • What is Zen and the way did Henry discover it? [54:16]
  • How lengthy was Henry’s first Zazen meditation, and why does he suppose it moved him so powerfully? [1:01:25]
  • What is a koan? You’re in all probability aware of not less than one (even in case you don’t know find out how to reply it). [1:02:46]
  • What is nonduality, how do koans information us towards it, and is the rising consciousness of awakening within the Western world akin to transcending the geocentric worldview that prevailed earlier than Galileo and Copernicus? [1:05:14]
  • Has Henry discovered it widespread for Zen follow newcomers to expertise a nondual awakening early on? While a psychedelic compound is sort of assured to offer somebody not less than a glimpse of this state, how would possibly somebody be prompted towards an awakening with out it? Additionally, why does Henry think about the time period “non-ordinary consciousness” — when utilized to an woke up thoughts — a misnomer? [1:07:59]
  • How awakening generally is a “marvelous kind of loss.” [1:15:48]
  • What is Henry’s new program, Original Love, all about? [1:17:59]
  • What does “Mu ichi motsu; muju zo” imply, and may “Koan” be roughly translated as “Over the precipice of nonsense?” [1:20:31]
  • Under what circumstances did Henry make the choice to devour ayahuasca for the primary time, and the way comparable/dissimilar was his expertise to koan-induced awakening? How did a later ayahuasca outing below a lot completely different circumstances evaluate? [1:28:24]
  • We ponder how a psychedelic expertise would possibly differ from an awakening on a neurochemical degree, how every might be helpful for exploring completely different aspects of what we understand as “reality,” and the place warning needs to be exercised. [1:38:46]
  • Has Henry ever witnessed somebody having a foul expertise via Zen that required particular aftercare? [1:43:38]
  • How Zen generally is a rewarding journey even with no vacation spot. [1:44:42]
  • Revisiting Original Love: it’s a program, a course, and an upcoming e book. [1:46:36]
  • Parting ideas. [1:47:54]


“There’s something about deep wounding that can be a pathway to deep, deep love. It’s a very beautiful thing when the wound becomes the doorway. I think there’s always that potential with a wound, but so much of the time we tend to accrete protection over a wound and sort of stay away from a wound and avoid it and live as if it weren’t there.”
— Henry Shukman

“There’s another dimension, another aspect, another face of our experience of this very moment in which we are totally part of everything.”
— Henry Shukman

“In awakening, one thing vanishes, that sense of self, and another thing appears, which is what that sense of self was occluding.”
— Henry Shukman

“All space had disappeared. There was no distance anywhere. I felt like my nose was pressing against the end of time. My nose was touching the furthest reaches of the universe because it was all just here. It was one reality without space, without time.”
— Henry Shukman

“I knew that I had found the answer, but I hadn’t even been asking a question.”
— Henry Shukman

“I felt that I had found sort of the answer to life, which I hadn’t been looking for and wasn’t interested in. But now it was like I knew I could die and my life had been fulfilled.”
— Henry Shukman

[On his first experience with Zazen meditation] “It’s not like I had some marvelous enlightenment experience right then, but I did have a sense in that first sit that this was a way of contacting life.”
— Henry Shukman

“The first thing to say about koans is they are not riddles to be solved, and our mind wants to make them that.”
— Henry Shukman

“I suppose I still am a bit of a troubled soul, but I’m a happy one.”
— Henry Shukman

“It’s not like it’s ‘Awakening or bust.’ That’s a wrong mindset.”
— Henry Shukman

“In any level of any zone of practice, love is usually the thing, somehow or other, that triggers the transformation that opens up things.”
— Henry Shukman

“It’s like love to find that we’re part of everything. It’s like love to find that this nothing—no thing—is producing everything, generating everything, infinite generosity. That’s like love.”
— Henry Shukman

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Podcast Addict, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, or in your favourite podcast platform.


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