The Koan: Yunmen said, “You come and go by daylight, you make people out by daylight. But suddenly it’s midnight and there’s no sun, no moon, no lamp. If it’s a place you’ve been to, then of course it might be possible, but if it’s a place you’ve never been, how will you get hold of something?”

The creative moment appears inside uncertainty, it is an eternal moment, a beautiful moment with no past or future, no success or failure. Meditation by its nature takes away things that were long assumed to be real. When we don’t fill the open space in the mind with our ideas of success and failure, the creative move appears like wildflowers in the field.

What if your failures were actually a good idea and a gift of grace, clearing the fields sowing the seeds? This original openness is the source of what we give and what we make. It’s hard to see this when we are busy assessing and evaluating.

In this retreat we’ll look at stories, koans and poems about the uncertain moments of life; how our failures and endings, are portals to not-knowing, the source of a fathomless creativity.

There will be meditation, conversation, and a delicious lunch, with time to deepen our connection to our lives and to each other. No particular background in spiritual practice is required.

– Allison Atwill

Register Now


  • Date: Sunday, June 2nd, 2019 – 10am-4pm
  • Cost: PZI members $125 / Non-Members $135
  • Food: A delicious vegetarian lunch is provided
  • Location: A private home in Santa Barbara; address provided upon registration
  • Registrar: Joan Peters –

Art: Hand-blown glass anemone, Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka.

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