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Finding the Poem in My Heart

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I’ve been traveling since January 11, and in Thailand since January 15. (I’ll be back home February 15.) It’s been a wonderful trip so far and I’m not quite ready to dive back into full blogging mode here on The Jizo Chronicles.

But I did want to share that one thing that has come through quite strongly during my weeks here is remembering my connection to poetry. Perhaps this has something to do with spending time with elephants… more on that later.

So I found an old poem, one from way back when I first started my Buddhist practice. I wrote this the first year I spent time at Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe.  A lot of life happened between now and then, but I still love the feeling of this poem.



Cerro Gordo
June 24, 1994

Late afternoon mountain walk
Medicine for the body from the Earth
The Big View medicine from on top of Cerro Gordo
After a day of meditation, brushwork, and intimate silence,
My consciousness has finally dropped into a small taste of the beautiful healing power of emptiness.

Now the mountain walk blows my mind, in the best sense
I rise to the top of the hill
With my fellow walkers
Breathing deeply in rhythm with my steps.

At the top of Cerro Gordo, I look outwards.
I see the beauty and terror of my mind:
To the west are the sacred mountains of the Diné people,
To the north is a shiny speck:
Los Alamos, the home of the poison fires,
The birthplace of the atom bomb.
Tears roll down my cheeks uncontrollably
Without thought, I comprehend the light and the dark
Inseparably tied together within my self.

My Mind has created both of these
I cry without blame or judgment for both directions.

Your true nature


No, bigger…


About Maia

I've been practicing and studying the Buddha way since 1994, and exploring the question "What is engaged Buddhism?" since the late 90s. As former executive director of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship and editor of its journal, Turning Wheel, I had the honor of meeting and working with many practitioners of engaged dharma, including Roshi Joan Halifax, Joanna Macy, Alan Senauke, and Robert Aitken Roshi. I write about socially engaged Buddhism on my blog, "The Jizo Chronicles," as well as on the theme of personal and collective freedom on my website, "The Liberated Life Project." Through my Five Directions Consulting, I offer support to individuals and organizations who aspire to integrate awareness into their work.

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