Poetry Read in the 2016 Roots of Mindfulness Retreat

25 Oct 2016 5:11 PM | Tim Burnett (Administrator)

Danna Faulds - Being Present

Breathe, relax and feel;

 take time to slow down

 the pace of life. Watch the

 rise and fall of moods, the

 birth and death of dreams.

 Feelings and sensation seem

 so real, yet they shift like

 changing clouds, and flow

 with the high tide out to sea

 again. Allow it all to be, no

need to grasp or push away.

 Present with each moment,

 the whole of you, body, mind

 and soul, opens to receive.

Mary Oliver - Mindful

Every day

     I see or I hear


               that more or less

kills me

     with delight,

          that leaves me 

               like a needle


in the haystack 

     of light.

          it is what I was born for -

                to look, to listen,


to lose myself

     inside this soft world

          to instruct myself

               over and over


in joy,

     and acclamation.

          Nor am I talking

               about the exceptional.

the fearful, the dreadful, 

     the very extravagant

               but of the ordinary.

                    the common, the very drab,

the daily presentations. 

     Oh, good scholar.

          l say to myself,

               how can you help

but grow wise

     with such teachings

          as these—-

                    the untrimmable light

of the world

     the ocean’s shine,

               the prayers that are made 

               out of grass? 

Greg Kimura - Too Many Problems

The dilemma, my love, is

your life is constructed of all these

magnificent problems,

and were you to fix them all 

there'd be nothing left of you,

save a naked beautiful soul

weeping to God and to love

which is what we all are in the end.

Instead of fixing all

those problems

perhaps it would be easier

to let them go and just start

weeping for joy.

John O'Donohue - Beannacht (Blessing)

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.
And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

Albert Einstein - On Compassion

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

Kabir - Inside Your Body There Are Flowers

Don’t go outside your house to see flowers.

My friend, don’t bother with that excursion.

Inside your body there are flowers.

One flower has a thousand petals.

That will do for a place to sit.

Sitting there you will have a glimpse of beauty

inside the body and out of it,

before gardens and after gardens.

Holly Hughes - Mind Wanting More

Only a beige slat of sun

above the horizon, like a shade pulled

not quite down.  Otherwise,

clouds.  Sea rippled here and

there.  Birds reluctant to fly.

The mind wants a shaft of sun to

stir the grey porridge of clouds,

an osprey to stitch sea to sky

with its barred wings, some dramatic

music: a symphony, perhaps

a Chinese gong.


But the mind always

wants more than it has --

one more bright day of sun,

one more clear night in bed

with the moon; one more hour

to get the words right; one

more chance for the heart in hiding

to emerge from its thicket

in dried grasses -- as if this quiet day

with its tentative light weren't enough,

as if joy weren't strewn all around.

 Rosemerry Trommer - One Morning

 One morning

 we will wake up

 and forget to build

that wall we’ve been building,


 the one between us

the one we’ve been building

 for years, perhaps

 out of some sense

 of right and boundary,

 perhaps out of habit.


 One morning

 we will wake up

 and let our empty hands

 hang empty at our sides.


 Perhaps they will rise,

 as empty things

 sometimes do

 when blown

 by the wind.


 Perhaps they simply

will not remember

 how to grasp, how to rage.


 We will wake up

 that morning

 and we will have

 misplaced all our theories

about why and how

 and who did what

 to whom, we will have mislaid

 all our timelines

 of when and plans of what

and we will not scramble

to write the plans and theories anew.


 On that morning,

not much else

 will have changed.


Whatever is blooming

will still be in bloom.


 Whatever is wilting

 will wilt. There will be fields

to plow and trains

 to load and children

 to feed and work to do.


 And in every moment,

 in every action, we will

 feel the urge to say thank you,

 we will follow the urge to bow.


Mary Oliver - When Death Comes

When death comes

like the hungry bear in autumn,

when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;

when death comes

like the measle-pox;

when death comes

like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:

what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything

as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,

and I look upon time as no more than an idea,

and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common

as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,

tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something

precious to the earth.

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life

I was a bride married to amazement.

I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder

if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,

or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

Naomi Shihab Nye - Shoulders

A man crosses the street in rain,
stepping gently, looking two times north and south,
because his son is asleep on his shoulder.

No car must splash him.
No car drive too near to his shadow.

This man carries the world’s most sensitive cargo
but he’s not marked.
Nowhere does his jacket say FRAGILE,

His ear fills up with breathing.
He hears the hum of a boy’s dream
deep inside him.

We’re not going to be able
to live in this world
if we’re not willing to do what he’s doing
with one another.

The road will only be wide.
The rain will never stop falling.

Rainier Maria Rilke - Be Patient

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.

Wu Men - Best Season of Your Life

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn,

a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter.

If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things,

this is the best season of your life.

Safire Rose - She Let Go

She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.

She let go of the fear.  She let go of the judgments.  She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.  She let go of the committee of indecision within her.  She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons. Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.

She didn’t ask anyone for advice. She didn’t read a book on how to let go.  She didn’t search the scriptures. She just let go.  She let go of all of the memories that held her back.  She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.  She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.

She didn’t promise to let go. She didn’t journal about it. She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer. She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper. She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope. She just let go.

She didn’t analyze whether she should let go. She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter. She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment. She didn’t call the prayer line. She didn’t utter one word. She just let go.

No one was around when it happened. There was no applause or congratulations. No one thanked her or praised her. No one noticed a thing. Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.

There was no effort. There was no struggle. It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad. It was what it was, and it is just that.

In the space of letting go, she let it all be. A small smile came over her face. A light breeze blew through her. And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.


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