beginner meditation, meditation, zazen, zen

when you first start meditating

maybe you’re looking for answers
to nagging existential questions:
who am I?, what is life all about?, what is my purpose?
or self improvement:
how can I become more centered? (whatever that means!)
or perhaps less selfish, more open, more spiritual?
and then you finally listen to your teacher, who has been saying:
“YOU” don’t exist
Wooah!, do I believe this?
No! I am definitely here with this throbbing knee in some
half-assed attempt at the half-lotus
what is she TALKING ABOUT?
if there’s no me here, then WHO is hearing these teacher’s words?
WHO is feeling this pain?
teacher: “exactly.”
wait….. one wonders, is this truly so?
am I this body?… this mind thinking about the pain in this body?

 and now the journey can begin

cookies, enlightenment, meditation, zazen, zen


contemplating cookie

They say you can’t chase after enlightenment
As long as there is dualistic thinking,
an “I” seeking an “It”
or belief that there is some “thing” that can be attained
then the student will continue wandering,
condemned to a morass of delusion

Soooo, while I am just moping around waiting for enlightenment to find me,
Perhaps I should just settle for “enlightenment-lite”
a little less stress, a wee bit more carefree time to wander about….
wait, I do that already….
ok, maybe I could give some of my precious time (gasp!) to another
To achieve this somewhat-selfless ideal, I could try the incremental method:
Each time I sit down to meditate I could strive to leave one thing behind-
one care, one selfish thought, one craving.
(Notice the “I” is still present in this pared-down aspiration.)
Who knows what Wonders this may bring?
I may begin to feel a little less stretched,
some cracks may appear in my selfish armor
and perhaps, just maybe……. someday,
after countless eons sweating away my gazillions of selfish thoughts, cares and cravings,
there may come a point where there is nothing left, and I will just levitate and float away
in the ethereal bliss I so justly deserve….. just imagine……
but wait….. are there cookies in this realm?  oh Damn!, one craving left…
Thunk, down on my ass I go!
“I” might as well go eat some cookies

meditation, zazen, Zen Poetry

Before Meditating: A Reminder to Self (or, just what the Self always wanted)



although here a body sits
on the cushion “I” don’t exist
“My” thoughts are self-feeding
not something worth heeding
like this bird chatter that natters-
not a thing that matters

the mind holding fast
to future and past
can cease to hold sway
’til some other day
For now this body that sits.
Is not that…..  is THIS

meditation, poetry, rebirth, zazen, zen, Zen Poetry

after August rain


mushroom closeup

From the dark earth
freshly-formed mushrooms emerge
Young Red-tailed hawk squeaks:
“Feed me!”
The mockingbird answers:
“Feed yourself”, in its hawkiest voice
Old/new water now tickles
the weeds in the stream
Emerging from the musty barn zendo
what may appear humdrum
is athrum with nowness