Zazen “Haiku”

a memory evening

forgotten in the sunset

burnishes copper kettles

holding linen gloves

performing léger de main

with destiny’s child

hidden pathways unwind

each nascent moment

ever pregnant pauses

judge and jury mind

hears not the birdsong

resenting coming dawns

a tear meanders lost

on a forsaken face

quenching desert lilies

sandcastle dreams ebb

and flow, with the

incoming tides of life

under the arch’s curve

fate shelters a while

as the earth drinks deep

raindrops softly caress

verdant carpets drawn

on canvas fields

watercolours paint margins

for the Soul to journey

a leather coracle in Dao

the profound silence of ponds

hears water boatmen

tickle trout with song

the wind plays flute

a chimney blows smoke rings

beech logs in the fire

cows chanting mantra in sheds

the prayer bell chimes

a farmer brings fresh hay

the kestrel hovers hungry

seeing beyond horizons

keen for future dreams

the woodcutter’s solitude

cuts axe blade sharp

through logs mundane

spiced wine warming

the veins of golden ore

pumped only by heart

the acrobat squirrel

crosses the swaying canyon

between century’s pylons

semaphore trees

waving long naked fingers

in winter’s winds

the point before mind

waits for the ripple of

a passing thought

stardust falls silent

for those who wait

no footprints in the snow

a match scratches a back

a hint of phosphorous

fire eases the itch of cold

moss on the trees

hiding from sunrays

growing only aeon’s beards

the wise old yews

cracking knuckles in the breeze

have watched millennia

the moorhens plink

pennies in a fountain

wishing for luck at dawn

a carrion crow plucks

a hearty breakfast

at the roadside café

omniscience counts

each Autumn leaf

the actuary of Souls

how does dharma teach

the fiery core of stars

only by feathers in the heart

what lies before now

only the present sleeping

waiting for the cockerel

what lies after now

only persistent dawns

irradiated with dew

what lies in the now

only forever born eternal

in the womb of moment

singing songs in the bath

no-one is watching

a child starts to walk

as naked as spring

a flower unfolds its flag

saying only welcome

the candle shimmers

beacons burn on the hills

eyes glisten with living love

an owl hoots in laughter

at man’s busy lives

pondering on their shadows

a spider’s web tense

sees the ants commute

yearning for love

soft down in chestnut shells

beyond fish hook barbs

cradles possibility

red holly berries

write in their font of hope

amidst the thorns

wide empty paths

leading to the cosmic causeway

where bamboo bridges flex

the Dao bends the reed

to fit the clarinet

and Gabriel’s oboe

Dao tunes pianos

in the darkness of night

a quintessence is born

a river carves Souls

whilst brooks chuckle softly

over the mossy rocks

mayflies tickle the eddies

willows bowing humble

under azure skies

scent carries fragrance

of lotus blossom

cherishing tender Sakurai

a single petal floats

wafted on pillow dreams

cotton wool soothes with a tincture

cutting carrots fine

a sliver of perfection

crisp and juicy with joy

sliced ginger pervades

more pungent than any dawn

a newborn deer forages

Different Types of Meditation

I’ll introduce the various different types of meditation that I have experimented with and make some comments about them.

Gazing

I mentioned that as a child I used to gaze at distant objects and become utterly absorbed by them, no thought involved. It is possible to while away great swathes of time in this manner. It is related a little to combing the shadows or gazing at shadows. If one concentrates hard on the shadow of say a leaf, or a tree or pretty much anything one starts to open and experience what can be termed the second attention. This differs from ordinary reality and can be quite spooky at first. In particular if one does gazing at dusk or dawn, some surprising stuff can be observed. Dusk and dawn can be thought of as the gap between worlds. You never know what you may / may not encounter whilst in the second attention at these junctures, this is particularly true when one is far away from concentrations of human beings. It is possible to enter the second attention for extended periods of time. I used to do this when hiking solo in the countryside.

Focusing on an object.

People rarely look and observe with commitment or intensity unless it is their job. I bet art restorers have a fantastic attention to detail. One can train the mind to focus by focussing on an object which may be static or dynamic. This might be a painting, a candle, or a fire.  Anyone who has really concentrated on a fire say in a log burner, for a long time knows how utterly absorbing and transcendental it can be. It can be mesmerizing or engaging. Fire meditations can lead one to strange places. Again, one can focus on the shadows of a candle.

Moving Meditations

These include martial arts and possibly asana. I am not at all supple, so I don’t know about the latter. My first experience of Zen and seiza came at a karate dojo. Where most sessions would end with a ten-minute meditation sat. We also did special breathing exercises in hourglass stance. After having done 1000 high level kicks, meditating in seiza, when the sensei is prowling with a shinai to whack you with if your posture sags, is quite an experience. One can find empty mind easily after extreme exercise. As one progresses in martial arts one is increasingly present in the moment, in the zone, and there is a martial state of mind which is hyper attuned to movement and flow. This differs in flavour between arts, yet to my limited experience there is commonality. Many of these states are generative of ki/qi/chi/prana.

Sound Meditations

Do you really listen to music totally and with every fibre of your being?

If you do you will know that listening to music is a highly meditative thing. Why is there plain song chant, mantra chanting and myriad other forms of music? Because there is nothing quite like certain types of music for speaking direct the soul, not all types but more than you might think. As an art form, the pinnacle of live opera in a cathedral such as The Royal Opera House or a mass in a Cathedral is hard to beat. It touches something deep inside. And if you are a participant as opposed to a recipient the collective ritual is evocative.

Emptiness Meditations

This is the complete and utter stilling of any thought process or fleeting emotion, seeking that point of utter inner silence before any single nascent thought has even begun to stir. There is the point before mind, the void, in which no-thing stirs, no-flicker of idea, no germ of discussion, not an iota of opine, nor a flickering emotion. Total silence, sans bruit. The point before mind is empty, yet it too is impermanent for there must be in time an influx. Time stops but time must restart, that is Dao, flow cannot be held at bay. There in that point before mind one can quite literally see a tiny foetus of thought begin to impregnate the silence and one Knows that one is the thinker and not the thought. When one attains the point before mind one literally stops the world.

Constructive Thought Form Building or Imagination

I have done two of these Toltec Dreaming Practice and The Master in the Heart. One visualises a yellow rose, the other a golden lotus. We have occident and orient. One evokes the lightning strike of energy down, one builds the Antahkarana up. Unlike emptiness practice these raja yoga techniques are constructive, literally building by the focussed and intelligent use of “mind”.

The Zen and the Art of Laser Alignment / Peeling Mangoes / Laying Flooring / Cooking Dinner….

Total absorption in the action, becoming at one with the action and not rushing, having no goal orientation, just doing. No internal dialogue, the eternity of now.

There is scene in the film Fearless where the main protagonist tries to compete in planting rice, in rushing he makes a mess of it and his blind carer has to go out the next day and replant what he has planted. This is the antheses of Zen and the Art of..

His mind was in win-space and not present.

Hmnn, I am pretty sure that I could expand on these…