A Practice in Bare Awareness and the Beginners Mind
This is a practice that I use from time to time and the results are always the same.
I feel a sense of freedom and peace.
‘The eyes see’ (pause & feel)
‘The ears hear’ (pause & feel)
‘The body feels’ (pause & feel)
Haiku Awareness, is a way of looking at the world, to mindfully connect to life experiences.
Yes, haiku is a style of poetry. And no, you don’t have to like poetry to benefit from this approach.
Haiku is a perfect complement to mindfulness, being based on the fundamental themes of spaciousness and awareness.
The beauty of haiku awareness is that it isn’t something you have to work at creating. Any haiku you craft is a reflection of your awareness; it’s right there in your presence, just waiting to be noticed.
You might wonder how haiku is relevant to the experience of mindfulness. Haiku is more than a form of poetry; it’s a way of observing your world and your experience in it. It isn’t about trying to discover totally new things; it’s about perceiving things in a totally new way (Spiess 2002).
Just as wood is consumed in a fire, the words in haiku are consumed in the process of creating the experience to which the words refer. It’s a powerful approach to creating the awe and wonder of beginner’s mind.
Writing haiku is a process of utilizing a small number of words to promote an intimate connection with your direct experience. In haiku, each word resonates with the emotional power of a sentence or even a paragraph. To that end, here are a few pointers to keep in mind to make the most of your haiku experience:
When writing of saying a haiku don’t get sidetracked by making it perfect. The point isn’t the number of syllables; it’s taking the time to pause, awaken, and capture the experience that’s occurring in the present moment.
1- Don’t make reference to yourself or other people.
Leave out I, we, you, he, she, and they.
Just capture the details of your experience.
2- Don’t make judgments.
Leave out what you think and feel.
Create enough spaciousness to invite others to fill in the space with their own thoughts and feelings.
Here’s a winter haiku that doesn’t observe the first two rules:
Walking to my car
The winter wind howling
I hate winter!
The personal references and judgments may be true, but they detract from the experience and disconnect you from the flow of mindfulness experience.
Here’s an example of how that same haiku might be revised to follow the first two guidelines:
Approaching the car
The winter wind howling
Will it start?
This allows both the person writing and the reader to have a personal experience.
As you can see, the very nature of haiku is spaciousness. Writing haiku challenges you to distill your experience into three simple lines that capture the object of your spacious awareness. Its unadorned approach to language leaves space for readers to feel their own responses. The words point to the space, and readers fill in their responses.
Haiku doesn’t tell you what to feel; rather, it invites you to access your own experience in regard to whatever the haiku points to. Haiku allows you to experience each present moment with a freshness and newness that opens the door to spacious responses, in other words, to beginner’s mind.
Here are some examples of how haiku captures the spacious quality of each moment, allowing readers to experience their unique response to the verses. After reading each one, pause and allow your responses to emerge.
These responses may take the form of memories, feelings, images, or sensations. Avoid expecting anything. Remember, this is a practice of creating spaciousness in any given moment. Just be with what is and allow your responses to emerge.
Clutter of the past
Memories float by
On the mist of low clouds
The sky is bluer
Streams run like adolescents
Sweet mountain fragrance
HAIKU AND BEGINNER’S MIND
As you learn to apply haiku to expanding your sense of spacious experience in life, you’ll have another tool to minimize the effects of the four veils and instead embrace clear seeing. At this point, don’t worry about learning haiku as a technique; just welcome it as an awakening to the simplicity and beauty of your experience that allows you to mindfully respond to what presents itself to your senses.
Your senses are truly the gateway to connecting with the flow of your life, and embracing haiku moments helps maintain that all-important connection. Ceasing activity to construct haiku enhances your connection with the flow of what is actually going on and helps you observe more of the natural pauses that are ever-present in the unfolding of your experience.
CREATING HAIKU AWARENESS
In addition to the guidelines above, an important pointer on crafting your own haiku is that the subject matter for each line should reflect an important aspect of your view of your world. Make sure the words reflect your way of looking at your world.
Relax and be creative. Especially at first, don’t be concerned with doing it “right”; just play with observing and write the words that capture your observation. The more you work on crafting haiku, the more you’ll appreciate that there’s no urgency.
Just as Michelangelo looked at a piece of granite and saw the sculpture waiting to be freed, you will become comfortable seeing each moment as a haiku waiting to be noticed.
Source- THE MINDFULNESS WORKBOOK, by Thomas Roberts
Adapted by G Ross Clark