Writing as Meditation

In her famous book Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg describes how her roshi instructed her to begin using her writing as a form of meditation. Recently, my teacher, Kitabu Roshi », gave me a similar assignment, especially through writing poetry. He also instructed me to not write from my mind, but spontaneously, like freewriting, to let the Spirit direct me.

I’ve written a lot of poetry, and I used to have a couple of dozen original poems on this site. Most of my stuff was this outrageously joyful mystic rave in full keeping with my “holy fool” personality. What’s been coming since beginning poetry as meditation is new to me. It’s pretty unfiltered, it shows me what’s there, whether I want it to or not. Some is still the Frimster’s shout, and some shows the deep cries of my heart, and some is a little different:

My self mailed me an email
To explain myself to me.
The hours I spent teaching me
what I myself don't know.
 Norfolk Upanishad
I sit listening
Listening to the sound of Your spirit
and hear my thoughts.

But they are not mine.
I do nothing to make them come,
can do nothing to make them stop,
bubbles in the ocean.
I'm never so rich as when I have nothing.
Listening in the dark to what comes, what goes.
Listening in the heart to the beat, the pulse.
It's not I.

 I do not think to live
Something lives which is greater than me
Auricle, ventricle, expand, contract.
Squeezing life from matter.

Hear it in your head
Hold it in your heart--
The sound of life.
One life.
That One's you.
And me.
Every one.

 © jon zuck, january 16, 2005, norfolk, virginia  

On a related note, Meredith and Akilesh have a wonderful post » on their blog » which discusses a passage from the journal of Ralph Waldo Emerson, the minister/poet/mystic, at the “precipice” of going into no-self. I highly recommend reading this post in depth. This is probably the most concise and lucid description of what I call “awakening” spirituality, and Akilesh’s metaphor of “the precipice” is a wonderful explanation of the point that leads from mere mysticism into the transformation of consciousness, theosis, fana, or enlightenment.

I most definitely relate Meredith’s statement about coming to the precipice, but not yet being able to jump into the void. Boy, can I relate to that! Everyone, please give yourselves a treat and read that post!

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