Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Kernels from the Nutshells: My Reading of Mindfulness Poems

This is an overflow page, excising my interpretations from the Mindful Poems page. I've included links to the poems covered.

My summary of these poems would be

Poem 1, The Summer Day
. Be intensely present here and now.

Poem 2--Autobiography in Five Chapters
. Break your habits of not really seeing, not taking responsibility, disparaging yourself, not learning from mistakes, lying to yourself, not trying new things.

Poem 3--Wild Geese. Whatever your situation, just practice being human, connecting to others and to nature in front of you.

Poem 4--The Guest House. Be hospitable to whatever comes your way, good or bad.

Poem 5.  I wouldn't dare try to summarize T.S. Elliot's Little Gidding, but would note that the commentary on wikipedia alludes to the "the mystical nature of the poem and how its themes were closer to Buddhism than Anglicanism."  

Poems 6/7 
(retreat poems): Lost by David Wagoner and haiku-like The Birds Have Vanished by Li Po [Bai] - These speak to the transience of human concerns and the timelessness of nature, mountain, here, now.

Poem 8 
(Penultimate week): Love After Love -- This echos a theme of Little Gidding -- returning to the familiar place -- or in this case face, your own face -- and knowing (and loving) it for the first time in the light of personal evolution. Great metaphor for treating yourself with compassion. The bread and wine could be a communion allusion, but in this eucharist, your  feast of thanks is for your own life.

Poem 9. In Kindness, I think Naomi Shihab Nye proposes that the great losses of our lives may give birth to deep kindness.

Bonus Poems Keeping Quiet-- That's mostly what we do in Mindfulness classes and meditation...
Neruda was apparently an "early adopter" as he touches on the omnipresent "busyness" of life and speculates on what the world might be like if everyone, just for a few seconds, was still.

#14 from The Kabir Book--This poem takes us to the mysterious paradise accessible when we give up desires and expectations of the exterior world.

Alberto Caeiro: Complete PoemsIX -- A key way Mindfulness brings us back into the present is by urging us to substitute intense use of our senses for thoughts

You Reading This, Be Ready-- A compelling invitation to live in the present.

Analgesic Meditation--Mindfulness helps adult pain much as imagination and the world of toy soldiers on a child's counterpane helped the child in Robert Louis Stephenson's poem.

Prelude to the Dance -- Striving and forcing yourself to improve versus just being and unfolding


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