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Archive for June, 2011

Composing Bliss
Poetry as Meditation

Sculpting your thoughts into a poem can take you on a journey where your conscious mind is momentarily cast adrift.

The creation of any kind of art can be as much a form of meditation as a vehicle for self-expression. Energetically splashing colors of paint onto a canvas can be like casting the weight of the world off your shoulders, while raising your voice to hit the high notes of a song can inspire you to release your fears so you can reach new heights in your own life. And then there is the act of meditation that can take place when you create poetry. Sculpting your thoughts and emotions into a poem can take you on a journey into your inner universe where your conscious mind is momentarily cast adrift.

Like other forms of meditation, writing poetry requires that you stay fully present during the process, rather than focusing on any outcome. In doing so, you release any inhibitions or ideas of “what needs to happen,” so that your thoughts can flow freely through you. When you write poetry, you are able to see the reflections of your innermost self imprinted on a page.

If you’d like to experience poetry as a meditation practice, you might want to try this exercise: Set aside twenty minutes where you can be alone in a quiet space. You may want to look at poems other people have written to see if there is a style of poetry you would like to try. You can also try writing in freeform. The structure of the poem will then organically reveal itself to you. When you are ready, sit down with pen and paper and let the words flow. Don’t think about what you are going to say next, and don’t worry about spelling, grammar, or logic. Instead, be as descriptive, visually precise, rhythmic, or lyrical as you want to be. When you feel complete, put the pen down, and read over what you’ve written. Appreciate this work of art you have created. You may even find that thoughts and emotions you had repressed before are now making themselves known so you can process and release them. Writing poetry as a form of meditation lets you slow down your mind long enough for you to get out of your own way, so that your soul can freely express its deepest yearnings.

I read this today, and felt elated that someone else had put into words what I, myself and my dad feel when we write poetry.  Being “fully present” and “releasing” ideas about the process or result of writing poetry is one of the hardest things for us as poets – and yes, it is a form of meditation – a release into the creative” mind set” full on and without judgment or reticence – and it is damn hard at times.  I think that my poems about meditation or chanting are a way of channeling these exact thoughts – Sunia and Japa/My One True Love.  I am realizing now that as a poet and yogi I live to fuse these two creative energies – I want to live it (through yogic practices and meditation) and then express it in poetry – and it comes full circle because in order to express the experience of meditative or chanting bliss, I have to allow the process to occur all over again in writing the poem – sort of like the serpent coiled and full circle – head to tail.  And then that image in itself harks back to the very source of creativity according to yogi tradition (at least Kundalini tradition) – the coiled serpent at the base of the spine which has the creative energy and needs to be allowed to travel up the spine to higher levels of consciousness – shakti energy —-

My dad has expressed the contemplative world in his poem, Meditating in Water – we are both after the peace and solace found in the quiet space/ the bliss found in “sunia” or really listening – to our inner voice and to nature.  Melding these two creates poetry and for us, more bliss.  We are doubly blessed as poets!

I suppose I am ruminating philosophical thoughts here under the mango trees in my dad’s amazing garden as a way of avoiding writing poetry – or perhaps, as a prelude to some poems…whatever, I wanted to share these thoughts as soon I will be on the road again and away from my father –  my one true mentor and partner in this crazy world of poetry…..

Sat Nam (truth is my identity)

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