Welcome to Beginning Meditation. After I explain a few basic principles, we’ll start with a three-minute meditation, a sort of trial run. By the end of the course, you’ll be making a 10-minute practice part of your daily routine.
Ten minutes? Doesn’t sound like much. I really need to relax. How can 10 minutes make a difference? If it sounds too good to be true. . . . At least I can say I tried.
Let’s begin. You’re trying to calm your monkey mind. Just close your eyes and sit comfortably. Focus on your breath. I’ll let you know when three minutes are up.
Three minutes is a pop song. This will be a cinch. Oh, right. We’ve started. Empty my mind. . . .Wait till Jan hears about this. . . . OK, my breath: in, out, in, out. What did the guy next to me eat? Garlic city. . . . Whew. I’m going to sneeze. No. In, out. Don’t forget to . . . let it go. Let it be. Now there was a song—more than three minutes, though. There will be an answer, let it. . . . Why is this so hard? In, out, my mind is blank. Blink. . . . Maybe there’s a book that would help. Ask the teacher. . . . In, out. In, out. In, out . . . three, I did three seconds. Don’t think. Just be. In, out. No wonder it’s called monkey mind. Let it GO. . . . Isn’t three minutes up yet? In, out. How can anyone do this for 10 whole minutes?
one fragrant, one carved
blossoms in the buddha’s hands
worn by the wind
Pat Tompkins is an editor in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her poems have appeared in The A3 Review, Confingo, A Hundred Gourds, and other publications.
NB: This haibun was first published in Thema, 2014Read More
No substitute for this
Late monsoon. The tea bushes in the lowland plantation form a verdant edge to Bagdogra airport on the Indo-Bhutan border. I am on a flight to New Delhi. A young man, his hair gelled and spiked, sits next to me. He asks to look at my cell phone.
‘You have Vodafone,’ he remarks scrolling the screen.
‘The connection is good,’ I reply.
‘My cell phone has no signal,’ he says tapping the breast pocket of his black shirt. I feel obliged to ask, ‘what network do you use?’
‘Airtel,’ he says. On the road to the airport, I noticed several Airtel billboards offering low tariff and ‘superfast connection’.
‘Are you local from this area?’ he asks pointing to the heat haze of the North Bengal plains outside the plane window.
‘No, I am from Bhutan.’
‘Related to the Royal Family?’
‘I am in the construction business. I have offices all over India. If you want anything, here’s my number.’ He hands me a business card crammed with names of branch offices, cell phone numbers and email contacts.
‘Can I make a local call?’ He asks taking my phone with alacrity.
The pilot announces that the plane is ready for takeoff and requests all electronic devices to be switched off. The young man continues to talk animatedly. I remind him of the announcement. He shrugs it off, ‘they say that all the time but nothing will happen.’
An air-steward approaches him and says, ‘Sir, you must switch off your cell phone now.’
‘It’s not mine,’ he says handing it back to me.
baggage claim –
my suitcase ‘to arrive’
on the next flight
Born and raised in the kingdom of Bhutan Sonam Chhoki is inspired by her father, Sonam Gyamtsho, the architect of Bhutan’s non-monastic modern education. Her Japanese short form poetry has been published in journals in several countries. She is current haibun and senryu editor of the UHTS journal, cattails.
This haibun was first published in A Hundred Gourds 5:1, December 2015Read More
won’t take a hint
Departure Bay –
the rooster tail trail
of a small speed boat
Emily Carr House –
even the bees wipe their feet
at each blossom porch
horse and buggy tour –
a satellite dish aimed
at your childhood home
Emily, your brush
dips with the grace of this bee
on each pendant bloom
Emily Carr House –
I scan the strawberry patch
for a ripe berry
Richard Stevenson has 30 full-length and 10 chapbook publications to his credit, counting three forthcoming volumes: Fruit Wedge Moon: Haiku, Senryu, Tanka, Kyoka, and Zappai (Hidden Brook Press), Rock, Scissors, Paper: The Clifford Olson Murders (long poem sequence, Grey Borders Press), and The Heiligen Effect: Selected Haikai Poems and Sequences (Ekstasis Editions), which should all be out ion 2015 or 2016. He is recently retired after thirty years of teaching for Lethbridge College and six years teaching elsewhere.Read More
Our fast train stops just outside the station. On the abandoned weed littered railway track, smoke strands from a sadhu’s chulha drift past a sinking sun. A chorus of mynahs joins the cacophony of crows. The cantonment junction where my dad, a doctor in the Army was posted five decades ago is just half a kilometer away.
Now as the train moves forward to stop at Ambala, on the station I see stacked olive green holdalls, black trunks and crates with army numbers and names painted in white and soldiers in battle camouflage drinking tea. The A.H. Wheeler’s bookshop, a bookstore chain founded in 1887, operating from railway stations is still there. I remember buying Somerset Maugham’s The Magician.
As we begin to move from the opposite train a child calls ‘bye bye train’ and I wave and call back’ bye bye child’.
worry stones –
blue marbles tinkle
in my pocket
Angelee Deodhar, an eye surgeon by profession is a haiku poet, translator, and artist. She lives and works in Chandigarh, India. Her haiku/haibun/haiga have been published internationally in various books and journals, and her work can be viewed on many websites.Read More
spasmodic second hand of the clock
on the wall of the doctor’s
walking along the beach
my sore feet–
the moon wrapped in gauze
another email from
what does she want now?
Wayne F. Burke‘s haiku and/or tanka have appeared in American Tanka and High Coupe. His two published books of poetry, Words that Burn (2013) and Dickhead (2015) are published by Bareback Press.
where everything’s candy
the winners get vegetables
at the politician’s funeral
you had to push your way in
your delicious perfume
gave me a migraine
that never ended
all my adult life
I have waited for the word:
watermelons and onions—
a feast that keeps on feasting
how sorry how sorry
is the hiker
who set the forest ablaze?
E. Martin Pedersen, originally from San Francisco, has lived in eastern Sicily for several decades. Some of his publication news can be found on his blog: http://emartinpedersenwriter.blogspot.it/
A gaunt figure, head bent, face obscured, walks through the withered grass at the edge of the field. I don’t know why I think it’s a he. The measured stride seems to suggest a certain sense of purpose. Where is he bound for, through our overgrown land? And why does he keep his arms by the sides, as if he dare not breathe even as he moves? Against the bobbing branches of the old cypress, he is like an apparition dropped from the belly of the rain-laden clouds. Is it the failing light or is his frame elongating with each step he takes?
I’m not sure what I should say when we come face to face. A white Apsoo crashes through the shrubs. I bend to pat it.
‘Is this your dog?’
Even before I look up he is gone.
into the setting sun –
a swan’s head
Born and raised in the kingdom of Bhutan, Sonam Chhoki is inspired by her father, Sonam Gyamtsho, the architect of Bhutan’s non-monastic modern education. Her Japanese short form poetry has been published in poetry journals and anthologies in Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, India, Japan, UK and US and included in the Cultural Olympics 2012 Poetry Parnassus and BBC Radio Scotland Written Word Programme.Read More