Poetry Divine Posts

I have recently finished reading, The Way of Silence: The Prose and Poetry of Basho by Richard Lewis, a book given to me by one of my yoga students. Basho was a seventeen century Japanese haiku master.

What seems timely for me, at this time, is that he embarked on a solitary journey, gradually withdrawing from the world as personified in the final observation of this book: ….”it has been customary to leave behind a death poem….But every moment of life is the last….”

This reminds me of the yogic teachings that every breath is both a birth and a death—a beginning and an end. That is something to contemplate during this dangerous Covid pandemic era. I ask myself: Is it not crucial to value the present moment, however it appears and however difficult that might be?

March 14, 2021
Gudrun Mouw (c)

A Book Review

I recently had a discussion with someone who felt very drawn to the yoga Warrior Pose. My thought was, yes, I can understand how during this difficult era one could feel a strong pull—feet grounded, arms up.

This conversation reminded me of a story my teacher shared: A long time ago in India, there were two warriors near a dangerous cliff. One warrior, determined to best the other one at all cost, backed the second warrior towards the cliff’s edge. Then, warrior number one began a furious attack. The second warrior (I call him the wise warrior) dropped to his knees. The angry warrior’s plan collapsed as he toppled over his opponent and fell off the cliff instead.

The take away for me was: Always strive to act in a way that is appropriate to the situation by remaining as clear minded as possible and not be driven by crazy aggression or other unhelpful attitudes.

The Spiritual Journey

Reading President Obama’s 701 page book, I found it helpful to have speed reading skills through the (often quite necessary) details of policy information. In spite of that, the heartfelt, excellent writing, honesty, willingness to consider opposing views and intelligence steeped with compassion all bring me back to that memorable day after the 2008 election.

I was filled with joy. On my 2 mile hike in a nearby CA State Park down a fire road, I saw a young man walking towards me. I yearned to share my happiness, but as we passed each other, his eyes were closed. His face was blissful. I wondered; maybe he doesn’t want to interrupt his bliss. Maybe he fears I had voted for the opposition. Maybe there is a racial element, because I am white, and he is black. Whatever the reason, we were shy and/or too afraid to break through our imaginary separation.

Reading this book makes me better informed and also more appreciative of President Barack Obama’s behind-the-scenes process. This is an invaluable, historical masterpiece sprinkled with endearing personal insights. I am most moved by what I perceive to be President Obama’s continuing quest for self awareness.

Gudrun Mouw
January 5, 2021

A Book Review

I am grateful for the vote!

Uncategorized

Once again, I read: “Awakening is a shift in consciousness in which thinking and awareness separate.” —Eckhart Tolle

I still remember a moment, at the age of ten, when my non-thinking mind slid into a barrage of unhelpful mental patterns. It was an eye opener for me, in my late twenties, to come to an understanding that awareness does not rely on thinking.

This first happened at a silent yoga retreat after a powerful chanting session which triggered an inner landscape which was shockingly clear, fresh and creative. After the retreat, however, it was difficulty to deal with the habitual energy of a thinking mind when it returned, since that state the Buddhists call “emptiness” was still unfamiliar at the time.

I have come to think the solution is not to disparage the thinking mind but celebrate it’s useful aspects and at the same time to develop the skill of being able to enjoy the benefits of suspended thinking. To do that, it helps to bring attention to the natural breathing process, for example, and/or to practice deep relaxation. Also, the long term practice of meditation was fundamental to my learning to separate thinking from awareness.

Gudrun Mouw (c)
October 22, 2020

The Spiritual Journey

On the tile roof, a seagull stands strong
against the rising down-coast wind.
Sun shines sideways through
the pepper tree, whose shadows
dance wildly inside the parked car, where I wait
during this pandemic for take out food,
as wind moves everything it can.
I have been waiting, quietly, since
we hid from the Gestapo,
though I didn’t know what I was waiting for.
And now, I wait again in this current era
of dictators and would-be dictators
as that strong bird still stands
against a down-coast gale.

September 19, 2020

© Gudrun Mouw

A Poem