Issue 9: Spring

A Brocade of Mindfulness

Compiled by Michael Elsmere

“The important thing in our understanding is to have a smooth, free-thinking, way of observation. We have to observe things without stagnation. We should accept things as they are without difficulty. Our mind should be soft and open enough to understand things as they are. When our mind is soft it is called imperturbable thinking. This kind of thinking is always stable. It is called mindfulness.”

from Zen Mind Beginner’s Mind
by Shunryu Suzuki

“Almost midnight — I could feel the earth's
soaking darkness squeeze and fill its darkness,
everything spinning into the spasm of midnight”

“I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread.”

“It must somehow be felt in the pulse, ebb, and flow of the music that sings in me. My new song must float like a feather on the breath of God.”

“Go into your own ground and learn to know yourself there.”

“Don't be mindful, please! When you walk, just walk. Let the walk walk. Let the talk talk (Dogen Zenji says: "When we open our mouths, it is filled with Dharma"). Let the eating eat, the sitting sit, the work work. Let sleep sleep.”

“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.”

“Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.”

“I go among trees and sit still.
All my stirring becomes quiet
Around me like circles on water.
My tasks lie in their places
Where I left them, asleep like cattle…”

“The birds have vanished into the sky,
and now the last cloud drains away.
We sit together, the mountain and me,
Until only the mountain remains.”

Almost Midnight.... from the poem ‘Field’ in ‘Woods’ by Alice Oswald.
I went out to the hazel wood...... The Song of Wandering Aengus from The Collected Works of W. B Yeats
It must somehow be felt...... from the writings of Hildegaard of Bingen.
Go into your own ground.......from the writings of Meister Eckhart.
Don’t be mindful please......... Muho Noelke, the abbot of Antaiji
You do not have to be good..........from Wild Geese By Mary Oliver in Dream Work
Before you know what kindness is........... from Kindness By Naomi Shihab Nye
I go among trees and sit still .........from Sabbaths by Wendell Berry
The Birds have vanished............ Li Po (8th century Chinese poet)


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