The Way of the Poet

I turn to the poets when I find myself suspended between truth and its opposite. Their way of speaking nudges me towards clarity. Clarity is a way of seeing. It is, I believe, what Seamus Heaney meant when he said that poetry is “a temporary stay against confusion”.

Poets & Placebos

If philosophy

is a map for the ineffable

and theologians

tight-rope walk with men and angels

then put me in a room of poets

who administer their truth

like sugar drops

that heal by stealth.


Later in the day, I will return to meditate with you. For now, I invite you to search under RESOURCES, where I have posted a piece about an Israeli poet, whose words clarify what it means to live with compassion and forgiveness.



Some of you have commented on the simplicity of the practice of meditation, so let’s take a moment to reflect on the idea of importing simplicity into the complexity of our 21st century world. To do so is to run against the grain of what we expect of life; what we expect of others. To court simplicity, and its sister, silence, will challenge us to the very core of our sense of identity. Remember the words of the poet?

“Quick now, here, now, always-
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.”

T.S. Eliot

So, as you work with me towards THE FULLNESS OF BEING STILL, remember that each step is simple, but the journey, if it is to be a life-long one, will cost you nothing less than everything. Eliot quoted Julian of Norwich, who said that

all shall be well

and all manner of things shall be well

Let’s bear this in mind as we settle to meditate

Return to your place of peace and rest there for a minute, 
Come fully into the space. 
Let time drop away. 
Relax into your own body, 
Forgive the painful parts; 
be grateful for the ease of health and strength.
Breathe in to the count of four
     Hold for the count of four
     breathe out at your ease
     hold for the count of four

Today, close your eyes and imagine a stony beach. 
Feel the pebbles under you feet. They are older than you are. 
Imagine, across a stretch of water, a range of mountains 
that change colour with the light like a Paul Henry painting. 

Hear the lap of water 
     it is like your breath
     going out
     coming in

Feel the wind on your face. 
Marvel at the realisation 
that the natural world is not separate from you
You ARE the natural world

Let go of the idea that you are the controller of the world. 
Feel a sense of relief 
when you are able to let go of the idea 
that you are in control

You have taken the first step towards simplicity
breathing in
   breathing out

And then rest and know that

All shall be well

and all manner of things shall be well

Julian of norwich
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