July 3, 2013
Listening to the Heart of the World: An Interview with Albert Flynn DeSilver

Writing is one of our most powerful points of attention as human beings, and when we focus our attention toward the realms of the possible, our lives become a living expression of possibility. This statement from Albert Flynn DeSilver well reflects his expansive spirit and enthusiasm for producing change within oneself and the world through writing.

In the Writing as a Path to Awakening retreat, Albert Flynn DeSilver and Do-On Robert Thomas, offer an extraordinary week of mindful creativity and awakening to your true nature through the practice of writing.

Interview by Sachico Ohanks, Communications Coordinator at San Francisco Zen Center

Albert-Flynn-DeSilver-CropSachico: In your TEDx talk (video below), you referred to an “Open Poetic Identity.” What is this and why is it important?

Albert: An “Open Poetic Identity” is really about an open heart. It’s about doing what you do with presence and attention. It’s giving your full self to the process. It also has to do with sensibility. Being willing to open yourself to a sensibility for kindness, patience , and connection– to be vulnerable and alive to all emotional states, not just the favorable or pleasurable ones. It’s also about stillness and observation, paying attention and listening to the heart of the world.

Sachico: What does your spiritual practice bring to your writing?

Albert: Spiritual practice brings insight to my writing. It brings the flow of ideas, the big ideas, the big open inclusive ideas of beauty and of being and of surrendering to a state of love and compassion.

Sachico: Could you describe one of the ways that you help writers write?

Albert: How I help writers write is by listening–mostly, but also by providing great examples, by reminding them there is no such thing as a non-creative person. It’s who we are. If you have a desire to write then write, and read, and situate yourself in close proximity to great writers. Listen to them. Do the best I can to be the best model I can be, and to provide compelling writing prompts that shift perception and belief, that open you to your own inherent creativity.

Albert-Flynn-DeSilver-Crop-2Sachico: What do you enjoy about leading retreats?

Albert: What I love about that is connecting with other people, being a small, hopefully inspiring, stepping stone on their path to awakening. Hopefully moving in them the desire to open just a little bit more to the vast beauty and potential that is their true nature, that is who they really are.

Sachico: Is there anything you would like to say to readers who are interested in your retreat?

Albert: I want people to remember that creativity isn’t something that some people have and others don’t. Creativity is not something you go and get at a workshop, or even a thing that you learn. Creativity is you, it’s who you are at your very core. One just needs to stop, turn off the computer, phone, i-pod, etc. and listen in silence, spend time in nature, there you will merge with the creativity that is you! (Having said that, taking  time out of your regular work life to go to a workshop and be reminded of this can be transformational and life altering!!)

Albert Flynn DeSilver and Do-On Robert Thomas will be leading Writing as a Path to Awakening: A Zen Mindfulness & Creativity Retreat from Sunday, August 18, through Thursday, August 22, at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center.

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