When the practice of Mindfulness meets a poem

Starting with the observation of the breath, the practice of Mindfulness guides us inside ourselves, allowing us to become highly receptive and aware of our physical sensations, emotions and thoughts, which populate our mind.

For further information about how to practice Mindfulness view Mindfulness explained in 5 points.

But what happens if, after having entered into this state of deep listening and focused attention and having dwelled there for a while, we stimulate our body/mind system with a concentrate of beauty and humanity, as a poem can be?

It is very likely, then, that those words strike to the very core of our being, evoking reactions and therefore representing an input for further investigation on whatever may have arisen in us – physical sensations, emotions and thoughts – based on the reading of the poem itself.

The practice is very simple. Choose a poem. It is not important that the message of the poem you are selecting is immediate, that it is positive or that you agree with it. A good hint to choose a poem could be: go with what intrigues you, with what speaks to you or catches your attention. Put the poem in front of your meditation cushion and seat in Mindfulness for 20 minutes. After your 20 minutes of Mindfulness read the poem internally or aloud. Find the way that suits you better. After having read the poem, continue to seat in Mindfulness for other 10 minutes and, simply, observe what is unfolding in you.

Here is a poem that deeply touches me. On the internet, the poem is attributed either to Mary Oliver (1935) or Judith Hyll. Whoever the author is, “Wage peace” is a manifest of obstinacy to love for all living creatures. I hope it may inspire your practice as it did with mine.

Wage peace

Wage peace with your breath.
Breathe in firemen and rubble,
breathe out whole buildings
and flocks of redwing blackbirds.

Breathe in terrorists and breathe out sleeping children
and freshly mown fields.
Breathe in confusion and breathe out maple trees.
Breathe in the fallen
and breathe out lifelong friendships intact.

Wage peace with your listening:
hearing sirens, pray loud.
Remember your tools:
flower seeds, clothes pins, clean rivers.

Make soup.
Play music, learn the word for thank you in three languages.
Learn to knit, and make a hat.
Think of chaos as dancing raspberries,
imagine grief as the outbreath of beauty
or the gesture of fish.
Swim for the other side.
Wage peace.

Never has the world seemed so fresh and precious.
Have a cup of tea and rejoice.
Act as if armistice has already arrived.
Celebrate today.


© Valentina Iadeluca, october 2017