Attention, after all, is the native poetry of consciousness and the most elemental type of love.
Undoubtedly, the animals formerly considered abstract and remote othernesses, caricatured by a couple of pesky functions, are gradually rendered intriguing by the thousand little information of their being, complex and concrete. Due to the fact that interest is the crucible of intimacy and intimacy the crucible of connection, since the light of attention cast upon the creatures renders them luminous golden threads indivisible from the tapestry of aliveness that makes our rocky world an enchanted loom of a world, the poems undoubtedly become love poems.
A quarter millennium after William Blake saw “a World in a Grain of Sand and a Heaven in a Wild Flower” and a century after William James laid the foundation of contemporary psychology with the then-radical assertion that your experience is what you agree to address, the fantastic Vietnamese peace activist and Buddhist instructor Thich Nhat Hanh developed an easy, powerful instrument for refining attention, kindred to Maries poetic task, more miniaturized into a portable daily help for coping with greater aliveness.
My poet good friend Marie Howe gives the trainees in her ecopoetry class a lovely project: At the outset of the term, each young poet is asked to call the animal they discover most repulsive, then to learn everything they can about it– scientifically, historically, culturally. By the conclusion of the course, they need to write a poem about it.
Snake and Muricated lizard, from guiding 18th-century artist Sarah Stones nature illustrations of unique and endangered animals. (Available as a print and as a face mask.) It is that any totality of love is born of the specifics– those grips of understanding by which we rose the ladder of gratitude and admiration to arrive at a specific and mindful love that subjectifies what it likes rather than objectifying it, the way Ursula K. Le Guin believed poetry subjectifies the universe.
Thich Nhat HanhIn an area of his 1992 classic Peace Is Every Step (public library) entitled “Tangerine Meditation,” he observes that if you are used a newly chosen tangerine, the magnitude of your satisfaction will depend upon the level of your mindfulness:
If you are devoid of concerns and anxiety, you will enjoy [ the tangerine] more. The tangerine may not be really real to you if you are possessed by anger or fear.
He goes on to share a reality-regrounding mindfulness practice from his deal with children that is, like a fantastic kidss book, a miniature masterpiece of viewpoint and a mental salve for any phase of life:
One day, I used a number of kids a basket filled with tangerines. The basket was passed around, and each kid took one tangerine and put it in his/her palm. We each took a look at our tangerine, and the kids were invited to contemplate its origins. They saw not only their tangerine, however also its mother, the tangerine tree. With some guidance, they started to visualize the blooms in the sunshine and in the rain. They saw petals falling down and the tiny fruit appear. The sunshine and the rain continued, and the tiny tangerine grew. Now someone has selected it, and the tangerine is here. After seeing this, each kid was welcomed to peel the tangerine slowly, discovering the mist and the fragrance of the tangerine, and then bring it as much as his or her mouth and have a mindful bite, completely awareness of the texture and taste of the fruit and the juice coming out. We ate slowly like that.
Tangerine. Echoing John Muirs poetic observation that “when we attempt to choose out anything by itself, we find it hitched to whatever else in the universe,” Thich Nhat Hanh adds:
Each time you look at a tangerine, you can see deeply into it. You can see everything in the universe in one tangerine. When you peel it and smell it, its terrific. You can take your time consuming a tangerine and be very pleased.
One day, I offered a number of kids a basket filled with tangerines. The basket was passed around, and each kid took one tangerine and put it in his or her palm. They saw not only their tangerine, but likewise its mother, the tangerine tree. After seeing this, each child was invited to peel the tangerine slowly, discovering the mist and the fragrance of the tangerine, and then bring it up to his or her mouth and have a conscious bite, in complete awareness of the texture and taste of the fruit and the juice coming out. You can see whatever in the universe in one tangerine.
For a equally powerful and various take on how attention amplifies joy, making use of a various orange fruit, enjoy Diane Ackermans sensuous poem “The Consolation of Apricots,” then revisit Thich Nhat Hanhs powerful and mild wisdom on mastering the art of “interbeing” we call love, the 4 Buddhist mantras for turning fear into love, and his terrific hugging meditation– which may just be the loveliest method for this world to extend itself alive after the long contact-famished stupor of an international pandemic.