Original Language Japanese
Now that all thoughts have subsided
off I go, deep into the woods,
and pick me
a handful of shepherd's purse.
Just like the stream
meandering through mossy crevices
I, too, hushed
become utterly clear.
-- from The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology), Edited by Ivan M. Granger
Poetry Chaikhana | Ryokan - Now that all thoughts have subsided
Ryokan is one of my favorite people, but it was not his words that grab me so much as his actions. This Zen Buddhist lived out the Sermon on the Mount! But now his poems are starting to get to me as well.
I am just now figuring this out: Contemplation is the cessation of thought in the presence of the Mystery. Thought intrudes on that sense of presence like a dirty joke in church. Too much of my thought originates in my small self and is about that small self. It does no good to try to "lift my thoughts higher." They are still my thoughts and still mostly about me.
When my friend and mentor, Bob W. began to be aware of the onset of his Alzheimer's, he went joyfully, almost ecstacally into that "darkness" of mind. I am beyond happy, he said in a moment of clarity. While those who loved him suffered his loss, he became "lost," i believe . in permanent contemplation of the Divine, unencombered by distractions like thoughts,
Does dementia stop thought?
I really don't want to find out!!
But if it happens
Can i use the experience wisely?
I like my coffee black
with no cream to whiten it
Warm enough to burn a little.
I haven't tried the "new stuff."
I probably won't.
I like my contemplation plain
with no scripture to enlighten it.
Cold enough to hurt a little
I will stick with the "old stuff"