Friday, May 1, 2009

Experiments in Trusting


First a poem:

Tempo

placement,
because there is still a layer of ice
covering the cobblestones,
every step is an experiment in trusting
that the way you have chosen to move through the world
is at just the right tempo
for being now

Now a comment:

I've been writing poetry for years, maybe even most of my life. I even have a masters in creative writing, and have a couple of things published. Pretty exciting, eh? Probably not, but what I have always found interesting about creative writing is how insights about life often appear in one's writing before they fully are living those same insights. I would love to take every step as an experiment in trusting - I'm getting closer to that, but still am a ways off.

I was reading an interview with Allen Ginsberg from 1989 this morning. He was talking about a lot of things, poetry things, social justice things, oppression - but what was so powerful was these questions he asked. "What is it that you most desire?" "What breakthrough are you looking for?" To me, these are dharma questions digging deep into our spiritual lives. And poetry - great poetry - digs deep into our spiritual lives as well, and in doing so can inspire personal, social, political, and spiritual changes. It really can.

Many great zen practitioners have also been poets. I think it's one of the reasons I was drawn to zen: the long standing tradition of belief or valuing poetry as an expression of spiritual teaching and spiritual life.

Capping phrase:

Mistakes are abundant daily, and yet even still
the opportunity to experiment with trusting is there
in this moment and the next and the next...

5 comments:

dragonfly said...

Well said. There is something I recognized from the writing process when I came to yoga and meditation practice: the practice of becoming still, opening to grace and letting the truth come through. When you let them, the words write themselves and it's like they aren't even coming from you. I suspect the process allows you to tap into insights you know deeply but are not consciously aware of, tap into the collective consciousness perhaps. Other spiritual practices can, of course, do the same.

You may have seen Gail Sher's book One Continuous Mistake. She talks about the writing process from a Zen perspective. http://www.amazon.com/One-Continuous-Mistake-Truths-Writers/dp/0140195874

Nathan said...

Thanks for your insights and book suggestion Rachel!

sallymandy said...

I like your thoughts very much; I'm aware pretty much every day of the need to consciously choose to head into situations that could lead me to stay home under the covers. My life's not that scary--it's just that I have a scared outlook.

And the zen/poetry connection makes me think of Natalie Goldberg. I think of think any creative act can be a meditation, depending on one's perspective.

I enjoy your writing here. Thanks

Jennifer said...

Hi Nathan,

I'm sure you know about Natalie Goldberg, right? She's a buddhist and a writer and she wrote the manual Writing Down the Bones, which is one of my favorite writing books.

Poetry is a great way to discover things about yourself and the world. I've taken a couple of poetry classes recently and loved them--even if I never get anything published, it's the process that I enjoy, the uncovering of the next word and the next.

Nice work!

Jennifer

Nathan said...

Hi Everyone,

Yes, I know Natalie Goldberg's work - she's wonderful, isn't she?

And poetry is a great practice for uncovering your life, and the world, even if you never get published.

Best,
Nathan