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Hope (A Zen Perspective)

Mindfulness is being present in the given moment. Parker Palmer speaks about fidelity and faith as being linked together. The faith we have is not that we follow a predetermined, linear path where hope lives. Rather it is a speculative hope and faith born from deep faith that each moment is transient and what exists in each moment comes and go.

Richard Schiffman proposed hope is not an appetite for this or that concocted future. With faith in ourselves, others, and things beyond explanation, fidelity to phenomena never fully explainable and indescribable, the present unlearns the past and the present moves comfortably into an agnostic future.

When we take time, pause and breath, we enter each moment able to let go of fictitious pasts and fantastic futures, living in this particular moment, no this one.

Hope is not about some future meadow.
Hope is not a triumphal march toward some brighter,
bloodless field. Neither is it lighting a candle
or cursing the darkness or calling the glass half full.
It is this half-empty tumbler turning cartwheels
above the chasm. You, for example—
poised above your own private precipice,
bruised and bloodied, sifting through the ashes
of ten thousand burnt offerings.
Don’t scatter those ashes; don’t stuff the corpses
into body bags just yet. Don’t launch a fleet
of skyrockets to cheer up Gehenna. Don’t pretend
that you’re still hungry, like those battle-blind birds
pecking for seeds between the corpses.
Hope is not an appetite for this or that concocted future.
It is the present seeking itself, the present—
unlearning the past, agnostic of the future—
breathing, in its chains, like the sea.


About ivonprefontaine

In keeping with bell hooks and Noam Chomsky, I consider myself a public and dissident intellectual. Part of my work is to move beyond (transcend) institutional dogmas that bind me to defend freedom, raising my voice to be heard on behalf of those who seek equity and justice in all their forms. I completed my PhD in Philosophy of Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA. My dissertation and research was how teachers experience becoming teachers and their role as leaders. I focus on leading, communicating, and innovating in organizations. This includes mindfuful servant-leadership, World Cafe events, Appreciative Inquiry, and expressing one's self through creativity. I offer retreats, workshops, and presentations that can be tailored to your organzations specific needs. I published peer reviewed articles about schools as learning organizations, currere as an ethical pursuit, and hope as an essential element of adult eductaion. I published three poems and am currently preparing my poetry to publish as an anthology of poetry. I present on mindful leadership, servant leadership, schools as learning organizations, how teachers experience becoming teachers, assessement, and critical thinking. I facilitate mindfulness, hospitality retreats. and World Cafe Events using Appreciative Inquiry. I am writing and researching about various forms of leadership, how teachers inform and form their identity as a particular teacher, schools as learning organizations, hope and its anticipatory relationship with the future, and hope as an essential element in learning.

16 responses »

  1. Loved this Ivon, thank you

  2. Beautiful thoughts and I loved the poem. The present seeking the present… Reading that was like feeling the sun break through the clouds and fall upon my shoulders.


  3. And faith is trust, trust that I’ve come this far and continue to have the inner resources and fortitude to be now. xoxoM

  4. This realization has guided my life for some time now, “each moment is transient and what exists in each moment comes and go(es).”

  5. Faith for me is at the bottom of the moment. There are those who have faith in God and those who have faith that there is no God. There are those who choose to have faith in nothing and no one. When one has faith in something and is not just wondering, one can enjoy every moment they are in. A linear path is a path set by man with an objective and not by the faith one should have in their own beliefs. It takes faith to believe in God, no God, or in nothing. If we set our own path we are living in our moment. So living in the moment for that moment can be true in any case because that moment will for sure pass and another moment will come. Having faith in the current moment as well as the future moment that my life here on earth means something, I believe in God and that the future holds something better that just death. So each moment in this life I will cherish always looking forward to my next moment!

    A very mind provoking blog. Well done!

    • Thank you Bill for the great comment. I believe in God, as well. John Caputo, a professor at Syracuse, says faith like that is an invitation and the non-linear aspect is the way we accept the invitation. When we become mindful in the acceptance, it changes our faith completely. It is no longer taken for granted because we choose that faith.

  6. Pingback: Hope (A Zen Perspective) | Heart_Matters | Sco...

  7. This is a wonderful post, filled with insight and wisdom. Each line as strong as the last, it echoes my thoughts on being mindful. Your poem has great strength and truth. Thankyou.


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