Pat Tompkins

First Practice

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, 2014

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