Friday, May 11, 2007

Vipassanā (2007)

shouldn't be misunderstood
as another search for an exit

It is a way back
to where you are

First letting the eyes stop,
calming the antennae

Then all punctuation dropped,
an unhurried torch
shone throughout the body

The mind does not need to shop

Silent as smoke
except for the radio
from the apartment below,
bleeps counting in the newshour;
swooshes of traffic, birdsong solos,
hum of the nearby city

Of course the body hands out flyers
for a protest march
and sometimes a slow bee visits,
buzzing at every itch,
every knot of fear,
every burn of venom in the blood

The ongoing task of sitting
may be learning such restlessness
by heart
(the heart has many commas)
while mind writes smaller and smaller

Though my first teacher taught
that mind and heart are the same bell,
fused in a single word:

Note: The literal translation of vipassanā (Pali) is ‘insight’. The word is used to refer to ‘insight meditation’, and a specific form of Buddhist meditation practice which is taught in various strands of modern Theravada Buddhism. See the Wikipedia entry on vipassanā for more information. I practice vipassanā meditation each morning, following the method taught by S. N. Goenka.

Below: An image from Ansuman Biswas' project Self/Portrait (sourced from


  1. 'The heart has many commas.'
    Great line. Mine even has a semi colan it's not sure how to use.

  2. No one knows how to use those, except in a smiley. ;)

  3. I enjoyed this poem Stu. Especially like the mix of protest march and a slow bee. Really nice.

    I appreciate your comments on the Merwin piece.