Author: Mark Yang

The Magic Jug and the Spirit of the Wok: Part Four of a Four-Part Series


The Alchemical Union. What are the essential elements of brewing a good cup of coffee? Certainly, one needs the proper equipment. Yet, we all know that acquiring all the right equipment does not a barista make. Just as purchasing an expensive camera does not qualify one as a good photographer. It is only the beginning…. Read more »

Wu-Wei: How To Brew a Good Cup of Coffee (Part Three of a Four-Part Series)


Ving, right, poses with the author. As I begin probing Ving for why it was that she is willing to make the sacrifice to become a better barista even after seven years of brewing endless cups of coffee for customers, I returned to the Chinese Taoist concept of wu-wei. Ving told me that she travelled… Read more »

Moving Forward by Returning to the Origin (Part Two of a Four-Part Series)


Rumba steps illustration by Aaron O’Reilly. After learning about Ving’s decision, my friend Evone pointed out to me the beautiful paradox in Ving’s decision to “move forward by returning to the past/origin.” Exactly right, I thought to myself! This immediately reminded me of the vital importance of the basics and fundamentals when it comes to… Read more »

Transience, Impermanence, and Letting Go (Part One of a Four-Part Series)


Time flies, which is another way of expressing the existential givens of transience and impermanence, the basic tenets of Buddhism. I mouth this to myself whenever I encounter the changes that are ubiquitous and unavoidable in China and parts of Southeast Asia. Many of the coastal big cities in China are founded on the backs… Read more »

Jumping Off the Deep End: Lessons on Letting Go


I just returned from the Third International Conference on Existential Psychology held in Guangzhou China from June 13–15th. As always, it was very rewarding and inspirational. At the same time, it is also during these conferences that I run myself ragged and reach the limits of my endurance and patience. Living near such limits reveals… Read more »

The Tallest Trees Have the Strongest Roots


Photo by Ian Capper. I chose this quote by Nietzsche as the title of my blog because I was reminded of it during a recent trip I took through southern Xing Jiang in Northwest China earlier this month. My friends in Xing Jiang introduced me to the multi-leaved poplar tree (poplar diversifolia). My friends brought… Read more »

A Liberating Dream and Moments Across Time


Le nozze di Figaro. Photo by Gunnar Wrobel. In my last blog, I wrote about a beautiful moment of cinematic creation in the movie The Shawshank Redemption. Since presenting this western movie to workshop participants across Asia, I since found out that this is one of the top ten movies for male audiences in China…. Read more »

Listening to the Music


Cantigas de Santa Maria manuscript illustration. In my previous role as a supervisor and training director, I often found my students repeating back to me the phrase that James Bugental taught about “listening to the music rather than the lyrics” when conducting therapy. Bugental had a nice way of putting it by teaching us to… Read more »