Monday 31 October 2016

Peace by peace

The heart knows
The mind vacillates
between this and that
“shall I stay here?”
“shall I go there?”
Doubt conjures up
a fog of illusion.
No more clarity.
we have been given a gift
of meditation.
Piece by piece
disentangling mind from heart.
Piece by piece
relaxing mind’s vice-like grip.
Piece by piece
reducing mind’s volume control.
Peace by peace
allowing heart to know
what it knows and
space enough
to hear it.

© 24Oct 16

Wednesday 26 October 2016

What remains?

What remains?
When the senses rest and
are no longer pulled out by
every interesting article.
When I am no longer affected
by time or age.
When I am freed from the
limiting or incorrect perceptions
of the mind.
When ‘I’ is no longer bound in a body
no longer subject to birth and death.
What remains?
When light and dark
are no longer differentiated.
When old and new,
me and you lose their meaning.

What remains?
I remain
free to dance with the wind
soar with the stars
roll with the waves on the ocean
as free as the autumn leaf
to let go of all limiting concepts.
I remain
an indescribable being
light and bright as
a raindrop bathed in sunlight.
I remain
a boundless heart
with wings to fly and circle the moon.
I remain.

© 25 Oct 16

Sunday 23 October 2016

In the Tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh

I'm delighted to say that, at last, my Ph.D. thesis is published as a book and available on Wordery, or Amazon, or you can get the paperback version from me directly.
In the Tradition of TNH

You can get it as paperback or ebook. 
It's been a long journey since I started my Ph.D. in December 2008 and one that has deepened my practice of mindfulness as well. It's been a very enriching and joyful journey (for the most part!) and I feel this is just another stepping stone on the way, rather than the final destination. I can hardly believe I have got to this point!

The blurb!
Explore the relationship between two aspects of Thich Nhat Hanh's teachings, Mindfulness and Engaged Buddhism. Mindfulness is a key Buddhist teaching, and involves paying attention on purpose to what is taking place in mind and body by bringing the awareness to focus on the present moment. Engaged Buddhism is a global phenomenon associated with Thich Nhat Hanh as its originator and brings Buddhism out of the meditation hall to engage deeply with social, political and environmental issues. The book follows Thich Nhat Hanh's journey from a monk in Vietnam, deeply protesting about the War, through exile and displacement, to becoming a world-renowned Mindfulness teacher living in France at Plum Village Monastery. Thich Nhat Hanh's unique teaching of Mindfulness has nonviolence and compassion at its heart. Although he has written many books himself none offer such detail as this on the biographical elements of his life.

Monday 17 October 2016

Look deeply

Light shifts through the day
colours change as summer
proceeds to autumn
growth becomes decay as
the busyness of spring
becomes the rest and hibernation
of winter.
We are bound to an
ever-moving cycle of change
so where is the stillness?

If you look deeply
into each moment
any moment
there is stillness
there is oneness
there is all knowledge and truth.

Life is an ever-changing dance of
coming and going
transformation and impermanence
moving, interacting
flowing round the rim of a wheel.
The hub of the wheel is still.

If a bird stays still
it gets ensnared in the cat’s teeth.
If I do not rest in stillness
I get ensnared in the changing dance
of life
believing each moment to be real
forgetting it is but a shadow cast
by one steady light that shines
from within.

Look deeply into each moment
any moment
there is stillness
there is life
pulsing as one great heartbeat
throughout the universe.

© 16 Oct 16

Friday 14 October 2016

The train of thought

A single engine moving
sedately along the track
taking in the landscape
sliding by.

a whole collection of carriages
attach themselves
like my son’s toy train set.

The journey becomes
effortful and laboured
pulling along so many
unwanted extras
keeping in line the carriages
that bump and jostle for position.

The landscape is blurred and forgotten
all effort goes into
maintaining order
with the clamouring carriages.

The track becomes circular
- how did that happen? –
The engine chugging round and round
no means to break out.
Round and round
getting nowhere
the noise from the carriages
louder and louder
a familiar track
I didn’t choose to be on.

Stop at the station.
Really stop!
No matter how much
noise and bluster
the carriages create.

Stop and wait
till the carriages quieten down
lost their magnetic grip
slowly disappear back into the ether.

Stop and wait.
A single engine moving
sedately along the track
taking in the landscape
sliding by.

© 13 Oct 16

Monday 10 October 2016

The sweet and silent drops of meditation

The mind can roar
louder than a lion
yet it has no power against
the sweet and silent drops of meditation.

The mind can move
faster than lightning
yet it cannot outrun
the unmoving stillness in
the sweet and silent drops of meditation.

The moving mind seeks novelty and newness
yet it finds no rest, no solace
until it welcomes stillness
which is beyond mind.

That which we call the
familiar friend or home
recognises only itself.

The mind appears so powerful
so convincing
yet it has no resistance to
the sweet and silent drops of meditation.

© 22 May 16

Saturday 8 October 2016

The hidden treasure in the heart

What is the hidden treasure in the heart that is unspoken?
Fear says, ‘don’t even go there!
You don’t want to unpack that hornets’ nest!’
Doubt says, ‘there is nothing!
Don’t fool yourself that anything deep or meaningful resides there!’
And there I could stay
not looking
not exploring
not daring.
The heart itself knows better.
Heart says, ‘welcome! Come on in!
Take a look around
browse, take your time!’

And here I find love.
Love that is not sentimental or
gushing but life sustaining.
Love is the call to awaken each morning
to get out of bed
to greet the day.
Love is the call to action
of a different kind
to be present for each moment
to notice the wind, the rain
the essence of life pulsing all around.
Love is the impulse to acknowledge life
in all beings, great and small
to say ‘I love you’ with words
or with a smile or
a greeting of acknowledgement.

Love is the rest when all cares
are laid down
all troubles set aside
all anxieties forgotten.
Love rests in the heart
waiting to be acknowledged
a hidden treasure with a great longing
to be heard, to be known.
Love is the lullaby that
gently rocks you to sleep at night.

© 29 Sep 16

Wednesday 5 October 2016

Where have all the poems gone?

What to do when you appear to have writer's block and the poems aren't flowing any more? Write a poem about it, of course! :)

Where have all the poems gone?
These pages are empty
not because there are no words but
I haven't taken the time to invite them in.
A shift in priorities has squeezed out
the time for writing and
now it is easing itself back in.

These pages have lain empty and blank
for weeks
as I pursued other creativities.
Lately, I have been writing
on the computer
which is not the same as
pencil in hand.

I am a conduit
a channel
a conductor
guiding the ever-dancing
ever-moving words
onto the page
in some recognisable formation.
Sometimes it is different
to what I expect.
I am only the channel
the conductor.
I cannot dictate
how they will turn out or
what patterns they will create.
I am only the conduit.

© 18 Sep 16