Tag Archives: spirituality

“Mindless Life in Ghostly Shadows”

a sonnet by Paul Burgess–this is one of my rare “serious” works. I would genuinely appreciate any feedback readers would provide.

This drinking tea to empty out a cup
And doing tasks to cross them off our lists
Directs the eyes to what is coming up,
Although what’s here, and nothing else, exists.
If sewing only to complete a dress
With thoughts of only what will next arrive,
Then shadows and a deathly emptiness
Accompany all moments we’re alive.

Without Awareness, tapestries of what has passed
Are woven presents filled with ghostly dreams,
And threads of faded “Now” that we’ve amassed
Will hold together Future’s fraying seams.
To always look behind or play the seer
Exchanges “is” for “is not truly here.”

This poem was inspired by the following passage from Thich Nhat Hahn’s Miracle of Mindfulness:

If while washing the dishes, we think only of the cup of tea that awaits us, thus hurrying to get the dishes out of the way as if they were a nuisance, then we are not “washing the dishes to wash the dishes.”…If we can’t wash the dishes, the chances are we won’t be able to drink our tea either. While drinking the cup of tea, we will only be thinking of other things, barely aware of the cup in our hands. Thus we are sucked away into the future–and we are incapable of actually living one minute of life” (5).

“Life: A to Z”

A prose poem in response to the following prompt:
http://zealousscripts.com/2014/06/03/114/

Achievement is not the child of conquest
Bravery is not the brother of aggression
Courage is not the spouse of violence.

Do not underestimate the mundane
Experience the miracle of breathing
Feel the breaths come and go.

Getting even—becoming an account in need of balance
Hurting those who hurt you
Injuring those who injure you, is never
Justice.

Kings are often miserable
Lords just as sad, but
Maids might smile sincerely.

Narcissism drowns people in themselves.
Obsession drowns them in others
Paranoia drowns them in delusions about themselves and others.

Quiet when listening
Respectful when speaking
Silent when enraged.

Termites bring down houses
Unseen amoeba destroy humans
Vices bury heroes
Water erodes mountains.

Xenophobia freezes hearts to stone
Young smiles gently melt them to soothing liquid
Zealotry boils hearts, leaving a dry pot.

 

I planned to write this in series of 3, but I noticed too late that I had left two letters out…I ended up adding those two to existing sets of 3.

 

P.S. This is a first draft. I welcome feedback.

Frustration and Staying Present–the Rambling Prose of Paul Burgess [Entry 1]

“Frustration and Staying Present”

Frustration often arises when things, people, and other forces in the external world fail to react as we had hoped or to yield as immediately and painlessly to our control as we had wished. We often become frustrated when multitasking—which includes thinking about one thing while doing another—results in mistakes. For example, while making plans for the day or watching television, we might pour our coffee carelessly and make a mess. Then, the mess, which we have to clean, frustrates us because it challenges our illusion of control over the external situation; contrary to what feeling “so busy” might lead us to assume, multitasking has made us less efficient. Rather than recognize our accident’s relation to our dispersed mind, we tend to blame our luck and to say to ourselves things that suggest that the world is conspiring to ruin our day.

People who claim to have no time for this “mindfulness, staying in the present mumbo-jumbo” underestimate the extent to which being somewhere else, such as the “future”, makes us less efficient in the present.

8 Worldy Dharmas (A Mnemonic Device) By Paul Burgess

“8 Worldly Dharmas”
Confused, we cling to “this,” from that we flee,
Not seeing ways we cause our misery.
A person never finds himself at peace
Unless aware he must begin to cease
Recoiling from DISGRACE, embracing FAME,
Desiring only PRAISE, while dreading BLAME,
Lamenting LOSS, obsessing over GAIN,
Pursuing PLEASURE, and avoiding PAIN.

 

P.S. 1.While  the poem sounds too heavy-handed and didactic, it works fine as a mnemonic device. 2. The use of the masculine pronouns “he” and “himself”–as opposed to neutral plural pronouns–made it easier to stick to the meter. If I were a female writing a mnemonic device for myself, I would likely use “she” and “herself”.