Monday, August 8, 2016

HAIKU AS DAILY PRACTICE

For the past several months - I've been writing morning haiku.

Haiku is a traditional Japanese three-line poem with seventeen syllables, written in a 5/7/5 syllable count. Traditionally, it evokes images of the natural world and is written in the present tense. I hold those two rules lightly - but stick to the 5/7/5.  

Much like any mindfulness, sacred pausing, prayer, contemplation practice - reading and writing Haiku - supports me, as I awake each day, to be more present and attuned to whatever is arising in my mind/body/heart. I can then carry this morning intention through my day. It's easy to forget what is most essential in the flurry of a busy life.  

Since taking up a Haiku practice - I have noticed that I'm beginning to perceive the moments of my life - from a reference of haiku. Every experience, inner and outer, is filtered through the impulse to capture the essence of it's fleeting qualities in 17 syllables. Life becomes an intimate felt-sense of each moment. Simple, everyday moments shimmer with meaning/purpose/metaphoric import. Attuning is an ever present possibility. Linear time falls away. Experience becomes a flow of interconnected spiraling, folding in and out associations - revealing a sacred, awe-inspiring clashing and melding of eternity and impermanence at the core of life.

Ha. As I re-read that last paragraph  - I laugh aloud. Yes. Not every moment is such. I still get lost in my minds worrisome past/future tendencies and fear-based reactivity - and miss the moment's vibrancy and mystery - whether it be closer to joy or closer to sorrow. Yet. Haiku practice brings me back to a more embodied sense of 'this now' - and it's the talisman I hold through my days and nights. 

Once I write the haiku - I then create my modern, tech-form of a Haiga with cool photo apps. Traditionally, Haiga is a style of Japanese painting that incorporates the aesthetics of Haiku - and often is accompanied by a haiku poem. I had no idea what a Haiga was - until I did a bit of research on Haiku. I delight in thinking that somehow the spirit of Haiku inspired me to include the Haiga art form. 

In keeping with my theme of leaping - I see that we can leap into new practices for staying awake and mindful in the course of our challenging lives. Haiku is just one practice among many. Finding the practices that delight us - keeps us practicing!  I find it essential to breath new life into my daily practices when I  notice I am straying away from skillful means of taming emotional reactivity and becoming my best self. 

Delight is a portal into awakening from our habitual fear-based, narrow sense of self. 
Waking from the dream of fear - into the dream of delight.

I invite you to LEAP in the direction of what delights you as a daily practice - and brings you closer to the four immeasurables: loving kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity. 



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