My name is Christopher Ash. I am a trainer of Focusing, the wisdom practice developed by Eugene Gendlin. I am also a teacher of Early Buddhist mindfuless. I explore the correspondences, the differences, and the ‘inter-affecting’ between the Early Buddhist teachings and Eugene T. Gendlin’s Philosophy of the Implicit. Their great common goal is to elucidate and to free human experiencing.
I began meditating in 1967, and have continued for the last fifty-four years. I first took up Buddhist practice in 1969. In my early years, I was attracted to Zen practice, though I didn’t start to sit in a zendo until around 1990. Before that, I practiced with some Tibetan teachers; and studied with a Dzogchen teacher.
Then I settled in, for more intensive practice, with two teachers (some years concurrently) – one a Diamond Approach teacher, and the other my Zen teacher, Subhana Barzaghi – each for about fourteen years. I’m very grateful to Subhana for her skilful guidance in that crucial time in my development. Subhana is also an Insight teacher, via Christopher Titmuss, via Ajahn Buddhadasa. She and Christopher appointed me as an Insight teacher, in 2002. (I also learned Pali to study the teachings of the earliest strata of Buddhist teachings.)
In the late 90s, I began to study Eugene T. Gendlin’s Focusing method and his Philosophy of the Implicit. I am hugely indebted to Gene. Unexpectedly, and ironically, his work gave me a radical and surprising, fresh entry into the experiential intricacy of the Early Buddhist teachings. I graduated as a Focusing trainer in 1998, under Ann Weiser Cornell’s tutelage – another teacher to whom I’m very grateful.
One particularly striking re-orientation for me, illuminating the Buddhist teachings and practice, has come from using a different language theory than most Buddhist practice lineages and scholars use. I got this approach to speaking and thinking from Gendlin’s work. I don’t make the representational function of language primary. Neither do I think meaning is arbitrary, and/or merely conventionally ‘designated.’ To me, language is a kind of gesture that bodies do, which primarily arises from, and refers us back to, experiencing. Experiencing is the non-representational foundation of language.
While I’m acknowledging here my indebtedness to my wonderful mentors and teachers, I’d also like to thank my friend, and mentor in The Philosophy of the Implicit, Rob Parker. A very gifted teacher, and a real mensch. I have studied Gene Gendlin’s A Process Model with Rob for about a decade.
I am a retired psychotherapist, I spent twenty years as a therapist. Before that I was a teacher of English to migrants and refugees in Australia. I live with my wife in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney.