“Ordinary Mind is the Way”:

Gateway to a Year of Practice

“Ordinary Mind is the Way”: Gateway to a Year of Practice

January 22 – February 5, 2023

Welcome to our first online course of 2023! This online-only, two-week reboot promises to be a powerful, inspiring renewal of shared energy for our collective practice.

Our starting point will be a phrase from deep in the Zen tradition, uttered by master Nanquan in the ninth century, which has become one of the most revered statements of life and practice in the long history of Buddhism. Ordinary mind is the Way. It actually sounds kind of bland. But it contains mind-blowing secret wisdom and compassion.

We’ll be exploring what it means and how to unlock its gifts – but [spoiler alert!], in a nutshell, it offers the most beautiful guidance: that just as we are, warts and all, in this very moment, is exactly the boundless, infinite, all-embracing “Way” itself. Right now, ordinary as can be, is the total fulfillment of the cosmos, the ever-unfolding force of creation in action…

Phew. Well, maybe that’s a little too much, too soon, for so early in the year…. Suffice to say, we’ll be learning to appreciate, rest in, and open up to the gentle wonder that can be found in each moment of our lives. And when that seems hard to connect with, learning to embrace ourselves just as we are, with compassion and kindness.

With love and appreciation,


Course information

This 15 day reboot will help re-energize your practice with daily support and 3 live online events. The course will offer daily inspirations for bringing practice into your life, and for gathering fresh momentum and motivation, and generally to tool-up for a new year of practice!

Join us for 3 live online events

1) On Sunday January 22nd from 10-11am MT, we’ll meet to set our intentions, ground in inspiration, meet the cohort, and jumpstart our two weeks of shared practice

2) On Sunday January 29th from 10-11am MT, join Henry for a deep dive into Ordinary Mind, featuring a guided meditation and talk

3) On Sunday February 5th from 10-11am MT, we’ll integrate our learnings and launch ourselves into a year of practice with Shana Smith and Sarah Giffin.

15 days of support for your practice

A daily teaching (via email) provides inspiration, guidance for bringing meditation practice into our daily activities, and

Daily prompts for meditation journaling encourage self-reflection and integration of your practice into daily life

A shared community journal on the Original Love app, in which participants engage and support one another through daily sharing based on the daily teaching

Pricing & Scholarships

Course price: $75.

This course is included in the 2023 One-Year Program or the 2023 Mindfulness Facilitator Training Program (If you’re registered for either of these programs, you don’t need to register separately for this course).

ScholarshipsWe believe meditation is a birthright. We don’t want anyone not taking our programs for lack of funds or other financial hardship. We have scholarships at different levels available for those who need one. Please contact Jeremy with a brief message explaining your situation, and we’ll respond promptly. If you’d like to contribute to our scholarship fund, please contact Jeremy.

People’s experiences with henry’s original love courses

My practice has become much more diligent and stable since starting Original Love. The trust I have found in my own practice over this year has been an immense gift. I can’t explain how exactly, but I can feel the practice pulling at a knot deep in me. It’s been a healing experience to come home to this knot and be with it however I can. I wouldn’t have found it when I did without Henry’s guidance, especially to drop into the body more. I am forever grateful.

WR in Massachusetts

The guided meditations specifically have been like a big hug! Through those gentle, caring and ease filled meditations, I’ve been able to find a self love that I had not yet reached before.

CH in Minnesota

Deepened my experience of silence and inner quiet–wonderful! Henry’s talks always deepen me into the experience of silence and that feels like healing in itself.

MB in Arizona

Daily meditation, supported by Henry’s teaching in the Original Love programs, have turned my life upside down and inside out – making it vanish in fine and lovely ways. It is all about stillness, allowing, and ultimately, LOVE.

MFS in Illinois

Original Love was one of the most transformative things I’ve ever been a part of. I discovered an immense love for meditation. I had important insights that transformed my worldview. I was enchanted not only with the teachings but also with Henry’s way of transmitting. My enchantment with life, with the world, with people, has only increased and I discovered Zen in a very free and loving way (different from what I had known before). 

DE in Brazil

My daily meditation practice, which felt fragile for a long time, as if without a stern inner voice telling me I should sit I might have walked away from it, now feels like something I gratefully turn to each morning.

TE in New York

Meet the Course Team

Henry Shukman is an authorized Zen Master in the Sanbo Zen lineage, and spiritual director emeritus of the Mountain Cloud Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

His struggles as a youth, a spontaneous awakening experience at 19, followed by years of rigorous Zen training and his own deep healing process, all paved the way for Henry to develop Original Love, a well-rounded approach to spirituality and meditation.

Henry is the author of One Blade of Grass: Finding the Old Road of the Heart, A Zen Memoir.

Henry Shukman - Original Love Meditation

Shana Smith is an Assistant Teacher with Sanbo Zen International, and the facilitator of Florida Sanbo Zen in Gainesville, Florida. Her root teacher is Valerie Forstman Roshi of the Mountain Cloud Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She also studies with Henry Shukman Roshi, Ruben Habito Roshi, and Sanbo Zen Abbott Yamada Ryoun Roshi. Shana has been a yogi since 1992, which led her to a regular daily meditation practice at a yoga temple in 2002. In 2007, she took refuge in the Sanbo Zen Lineage with Valerie Forstman Roshi. Over the years, she has found a tremendous synergy between Yoga and Zen, and integrates the two in her daily, committed practice. Zen consistently informs, sustains, and inspires her life as a parent, writer, musician, teacher, and lifelong student.

Sarah Giffin is a core Original Love team member committed to creating joyful and engaging learning experiences. Sarah was an onsite resident and manager at Mountain Cloud Zen Center from 2017-2020, and is a passionate student of Zen and meditation. She has served the non-profit sector for over a decade as a group facilitator, trainer, and experiential learning designer, leading personal, professional, and youth development programs on a wide range of topics including wellness, community building, diversity and inclusion, creative arts and critical pedagogy.