Each week in my Mindfulness Class I share some mindful poetry and quotes. I have been asked to share them so thought I would share them here for you to enjoy too. These are some of my personal favourites.
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
By Rumi (translation by Coleman Barks)
Stress hooks its claws into the brain
creating false truths and unreal realities
to confuse, to assault, to breaking point
There’s no refuge in the past or future
The only answer? Breathe.
When thoughts spiral out of control
like a jet plane on a fatal collision course
there’s no respite and no saving grace.
When even sleep becomes a banned destination,
look to the place of salvation. Breathe.
Anxiety can build and surge in a flood
overwhelming rational ideas and calm.
Depression throws its hooks into the mind
and drags thoughts into the mud.
The perfect antidote? Breathe.
Focus. Not on the unchangeable past or on the unknown mist of the future
but on the now. The moment. Your breath.
Let it bring the calm that’s desperately needed.
The final answer? Breathe.
By Alistair HMP Dumfreis
Thanking a Monkey
There’s a monkey in my mind
swinging on a trapeze,
reaching back to the past
or leaning into the future,
never standing still.
Sometimes I want to kill
that monkey, shoot it square
between the eyes so I won’t
have to think anymore
or feel the pain of worry.
But today I thanked her
and she jumped down
straight into my lap,
trapeze still swinging
as we sat still.
By Kaveri Patel
Do not try to save
the whole world
or do anything grandiose.
in the dense forest
of your life
and wait there
until the song
that is your life
falls into your own cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know
how to give yourself
to this world
so worth of rescue.
By Martha Postlewaite
Enough. These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.
This opening to the life
We have refused again and again
By David Whyte
Go Among Trees and Sit Still
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…
Then what I am afraid of comes.
I live for a while in its sight.
What I fear in it leaves it,
And the fear of it leaves me.
It sings, and I hear its song.
By Wendell Berry
Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you,
If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.
By David Wagoner
Love After Love
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome, and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
By Derek Walcott
You who always have
so many things to do
so many places to be
your mind spinning like
fan blades at high speed
each moment always a blur
because you’re never still.
I know you’re tired.
I also know it’s not your fault.
The constant brain-buzz is like
a swarm of bees threatening
to sting if you close your eyes.
You’ve forgotten something again.
You need to prepare for that or else.
You should have done that differently.
What if you closed your eyes?
Would the world fall
apart without you?
Or would your mind
become the open sky
flock of thoughts
flying across the sunrise
as you just watched and smiled.
By Kaveri Patel
The Peace of Wild Things (excerpt)
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For the time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
By Wendell Berry
The Wonder Is
The washing never gets done.
The furnace never gets heated.
Books never get read.
Life is never completed.
Life is like a ball which one must continually
catch and hit so that it won’t fall.
When the fence is repaired at one end,
it collapses at the other. The roof leaks,
the kitchen door won’t close, there are cracks in the foundation,
the torn knees of children’s pants …
One can’t keep everything in mind. The wonder is
that beside all this one can notice
the spring which is so full of everything
continuing in all directions – into evening clouds,
into the redwing’s song and into every
drop of dew on every blade of grass in the meadow,
as far as the eye can see, into the dusk.
By Jaan Kaplinski
(Translated from Estonian by Jaan Kaplinski, Sam Hamill and Riina Tamm)
I hope that you have enjoyed reading this mindful poetry collection. Let me know if your favourites too.