Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,
It’s my pleasure to present our new Haiku Shuukan episode. As you all (maybe) know I am the host of Carpe Diem Haiku Kai, a daily haiku-meme. I started that weblog almost three years ago and during those years I have created several weblogs as part of (what I like to say) the Carpe Diem Haiku Family.
Haiku Shuukan, first started at blogger, was migrated to WordPress at the start of 2015, and is the place to be if you like the spiritual way of haiku composing. At Haiku Shuukan I try to bring that spirituality (as part of the classical haiku) back into the haiku.
The time which I need to create Haiku Shuukan however is more than I had thought. First I created every week a new episode, but I have decided to bring that back to a bi-weekly episode.
This week is the first episode in which I start this bi-weekly creation.
The upcoming weeks I love to bring to you the ideas and insights of Joan Halifax. She is one of the greatest female Buddhist teachers of our time and she “gave birth” to “Grace, enlarge your capacity of compassion”. Grace is an acronym and it means the following:
G Gathering attention
R Recalling intention
A Attuning to self other
Joan Jiko Halifax (born 1942) is an American Zen Buddhist roshi, anthropologist, ecologist, civil rights activist, hospice caregiver, and the author of several books on Buddhism and spirituality. She currently serves as abbot and guiding teacher of Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a Zen Peacemaker community which she founded in 1990. Halifax-roshi has received Dharma transmission from both Bernard Glassman and Thich Nhat Hanh, and previously studied under the Korean master Seung Sahn. In the 1970s she collaborated on LSD research projects with her ex-husband Stanislav Grof, in addition to other collaborative efforts with Joseph Campbell and Alan Lomax. She is founder of the Ojai Foundation in California, which she led from 1979 to 1989. As a socially engaged Buddhist, Halifax has done extensive work with the dying through her Project on Being with Dying (which she founded). She is on the board of directors of the Mind and Life Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated in exploring the relationship of science and Buddhism.
Now you know a little bit more about Joan Halifax, so I love to start with her first “rule” of her GRACE model. G stands for “Gathering Attention”. And this is what it means:
Pause, breathe in, give yourself time to get grounded. Invite yourself to be present and embodied by sensing into a place of stability in your body. You can focus your attention on the breath, for example, or on a neutral part of the body, like the soles of your feet or your hands as they rest on each other. You can also bring your attention to a phrase or an object. You can use this moment of gathering your attention to interrupt your assumptions and expectations and to allow yourself to relax and be present.
I think this “gathering attention” could be a nice way to take a moment for yourself as you are busy, or as I look at myself … step back, look at what I am doing, I feel that I am in a hurry and now I have to pause, feel the Earth beneath my feet, make my mind empty by focusing on the moment or something. I take a light breath and I can feel how “time is on hold now”.
Isn’t that great? It only takes a minute or two (for example) to become relaxed and in the moment. That’s what haiku does (at least to me) coming back in the moment. The realization of the moment. What do I see, feel, hear, smell or touch? Isn’t that what Wabi-Sabi is? One of the Haiku Writing Techniques which we have explored at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai?
after the rain
that sweet perfume of the earth –
cherry blossoms bloom
Do you feel it? Smell it? Hear it? See it? Touch it? Take a moment to become one with this moment, gather your attention and find peace in your heart, mind and soul.
I hope you did like this Haiku Shuukan episode. It’s NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until April 15th at noon (CET). At that same date I will publish our next “step” in this wonderful model by Joan Halifax … GRACE … that will be “recalling intention“.
Chèvrefeuille, your host.