Not to feel that you feel,
not to know that you know,
but just to feel, just to know–
~ Br. David Steindl-Rast
In his book A Listening Heart: The Spirituality of Sacred Sensuousness, Br. David guides readers in an exploration of some aspects of a peak experience. He proposes an experiment in which we close our eyes and recall a major or minor peak of our past experience. Maybe it was “a moment on a mountain top…Or sitting on a fence-rail dangling your legs, not in boredom, not at all, but in utter absorption. Absorption into what? Into nothing; for nothing happened.” He goes on to reflect upon the fact that our peak experience is “an altogether unreflective moment,” writing “Only afterwards can I reflect on it and so talk about it. And what I am then inclined to say is something like ‘I was simply swept off my feet,’ or…’I had lost myself,’ This was all. But not quite all. For looking back I will also admit that at that moment of my Peak Experience I was more truly and more fully myself than at any other time.”
Through this exercise, Br. David suggests that “we have gained access to Haiku from within.” He writes, “If you have become aware that you are most truly yourself when you forget yourself; that in truly being alone you are one with all…you have discovered in your own experience the paradox in which Haiku has its roots.”
Today, we invite you to close your eyes and bring to mind a major or minor peak experience, referencing Br. David’s guidance above. Let it be a moment of utter absorption in which you “forgot yourself.”
Once you have relived this moment, notice what words begin to arise in your recall of this peak experience. With this experience fresh in your heart and mind, experiment with writing a haiku.
We invite you to reflect on your experience in a notebook or in the reflection area below. If you’d like, you may also share your haiku.
You may have noticed that Br. David signs his haiku as “Anon.” You might explore doing this for your own haiku. Notice how it impacts the poem. Notice how it feels for you. Imagine how it might land with others.
Enjoy the full eight-day Exploring Haiku practice.
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Still meandering along at my own pace as the Spirit moves.
Serendipity that we have been visited by so many butterflies lately. Vibrant red and yellow echinacea, bell shaped soft lavender hosta blossoms. They can’t resist.
I wrote in my journal that although I have been to the Grand Canyon, it is the birth of my daughters that springs to mind as my “peak experience”. They surprised me, these miraculous creatures.
Waiting, empty, longing
Afraid to hope.
Space between thoughts
Kites flutter above
Sun, breeze, and music playing
Soaking in the peace
Birds calling, soaring,
fresh morning breeze carrying
sights and smells of dawn
Now, think about it,
she said, the moment destroyed.
The day remains good.
(We overthink too often, Where is the fun in that?)
Not a haiku but what I came up with:
In New Moon darkness
I sit on a dock
listening to unseen sea creatures jumping in the bay:
plop, plop, plop.
Softly they splash all night,
the same as the first fish,
as the ancestral fish of billions of years ago.
In primordial salt water,
under the stars,
Long before I came to be
with fish plopping unseen
in salt water,
Time started ticking forward.
The fish, sea and stars
in their slow procession onward
long after I have come to pass.
flooding sound overwhelms
slipping into reverie
Mozart oh Mozart
Breathing with delight
A glass of water
Cold snowy night
Taxi ride warmth between us
A rush from the star highest
Angst and pain with relief ahead
PowWow dancing magic flows.
rising high raises the heart
in the flooded road
a heron stands, intensely
still, i stop, he flies
Quiet night at sea.
Dolphins glide silently by
in swirls of blue light.
To breathe, to bathe, and to splash
No bathing suits here
Thank you for this 4th practice on Haiku. Each practice strikes a heartfelt chord This practice hits me quietly with an aha moment:
THIS is what haiku is about :
Just being in the moment with nature; for whatever is happening right there. Also attention, curiosity, observation, appreciation,engagement, play and joy coming together in one brief moment and captured with 17 syllables.
A micro moment of aliveness.
A life giving pause to today fast pace of life.
‘A micro moment of aliveness.’ Yes! Thank you Merie.
Thank you,Serafina for adding joy. Resonance. Smiles.
A misty morning
Walk on wet grass, bare footed
Quiet and carefree
Under Northern Lights
Feeling massive energy
we are so, so small