Erik Sorlie sits cross-legged on the mountain.

Introducing Erik Storlie...

I began a practice of Zen sitting meditation in 1964 with Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. After Suzuki’s death, I studied with Dainin Katagiri Roshi, helping to found the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center, where I still occasionally lecture.

I enjoyed thirty years of teaching English and Humanities at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, I now devote my time to writing and teaching meditation at retreats. I do not base my teaching on any particular religious or philosophical affiliation – but simply on twenty years of study with Suzuki and Katagiri and another thirty years of practice and teaching.

I have an enduring interest in the importance of meditation as a way to reconnect deeply with wild nature – allowing that wise heart-mind which lives within each one of us to resonate with the living world surrounding us. While I've spent the majority of my life living in cities, I know of no better place to engage in meditation than under open sky far from the hustle of urban life. As Psalm 42 tells us: Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of the waterspouts.

I'm also very heartened to see the healing and "spiritual" potentials of the various plant medicines receiving again, after fifty years of demonization, serious and sincere attention. It was the plant medicines in the 1960's that brought me and many of my peers to yoga and meditation. There is a natural alliance here that is full of potential.

My book Nothing on my Mind, Berkeley, LSD, Two Zen Masters (Shambhala 1996) recounts the early psychedelic culture of Berkeley in 1964-1965, and the process by which I and many of us in the counterculture were upended by psychedelic experience and began practicing yoga and zen. See also Go Deep and Take Plenty of Root: A Prairie-Norwegian Father, Rebellion in Minneapolis, Basement Zen, Growing Old, Growing Tender (2013). My academic credentials include an M.A. in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and a B.A. in English and Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Minnesota.

I was pleased to be honored by the Bakken Center for Spirituality and Healing with their Spirit of the Center Award in 2018. While on faculty at the Bakken Center I developed academic offerings at in meditation and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, teaching those classes at the University of Minnesota, and leading retreats for over 18 years.

Erik Storlie receives Spirit of the Center Award award in 2018