Category Archives: practice

Live for Others

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I keep hearing that the swiftest path to misery
is staying utterly fixated on my own story,
closing myself off from the rest of the world.
And I keep hearing that the swiftest path to joy
is caring for others, enriching their lives,
helping, nurturing, staying connected with the world.
How would this translate into my daily life?
All of the things I thought I was doing for myself
can now become an offering for others.
When I brush my teeth, it’s not just for my own good,
it’s also for the good of those around me.
When I eat, it’s not just for my own pleasure,
it’s also so that I’ll have the energy to help where I’m needed.
When I meditate, I don’t do it solely for myself
but so that I’ll have the clarity, the calm, the stability
to truly be of service to those around me.
When I sleep,
when I rise,
when I dress,
when I drive,
when I mother
when I teach
when I walk
when I breathe
when I learn
when I read
when I sit
when I clean…
Let it always be for the benefit of others.
Chasing after my vision of personal satisfaction
only brings more emptiness, more heartache.
Let me try something else.
Let me live for others for a change.

Easing Into This Moment

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When I can sense in myself
a depth of being
underneath the idea that there is
something better out there,
I experiencing a softening,
an easing
into this moment as it is
a returning
to myself as I am.
The way to awakening
is not through a series of teachers
or spiritual paths,
each one of us is the way.
As we stop, breathe,
and find even a tiny bit
of stillness and silence,
we can all sense the
aliveness and beauty
in us and around us
always, at all times.
It’s not some grand moment
of blissful transcendence
or profound spiritual awakening–
it’s in all of the little moments
where we choose presence.
And so we don’t have to wait
to feel complete,
no teacher or doctor has to fix us.
Let us return to ourselves now.
Let us sense our depth of being,
softening and easing into this moment.

Always Important

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Waking up early
when I want to sleep in…
Feeling tired,
wanting to roll over
and go back to sleep–
getting up anyway.
Sitting on my cushion
feeling tired and heavy,
starting to nod off,
trying to staying awake.
Still feeling tired,
getting drowsier,
wanting to lie back down,
sitting up straighter,
staying awake somehow.
My meditation practice
teaches me
the meaning of discipline.
It’s hardly ever fun,
but it is always important.

In the Face of Opposition

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Disaster.
Misunderstanding.
Even though I was up early,
two kittens and a sleepy husband
started my day off with mayhem.
I wanted to sit first,
woke him up as I tried
to evict the cats from the room,
as he awoke he asked why I wanted to sit now–
he thought I should wait…
and this opened up a can of worms.
After five years of maintaining my daily practice,
I’m still wanting his support and understanding,
and he is still not giving it in the way I had hoped.
And this is part of my practice
and part of learning how to be in a marriage, I guess.
This is what I tell myself anyway.
At times like this I dream
of living in a community of like-minded practitioners,
but is this what will help me grow?
I must need to develop more conviction
because my husband is giving me an opportunity
to stand my ground and maintain my practice
even in the face of opposition.

A Nicer, Calmer Person

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Yes…
I woke up early today.
My husband answered Nature’s call
and the sounds of his nature woke me.
And so I found myself a little before 6
sitting, awake, ready.
I breathed, I was still,
it was the best sit in a while–
with no one to disturb me
and the world still quiet,
it was easier, simpler.
Yes…
The morning went better, smoother.
I made breakfast, I sipped my coffee.
Things were calm.
No one accused me of any edginess
or misplaced frustration.
So I’m going to bed early tonight,
wanting to keep testing this hypothesis
that has been tested and proven
many times before
by many practitioners,
but which means nothing
if it hasn’t been directly experienced:
If I sit before everyone else is up,
then I will be a nicer, calmer, person.

The Light the World Needs

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I keep writing these poems
because it has become a habit
to write one poem every day.
It has become part of my practice
to concentrate my thoughts,
to choose a few words,
to express a sliver of what is alive in me.
Sometimes a sliver is all that is needed
to let in the light the world needs.