Haiku are a healthy habit…a haiku sensibility, a haiku heart and mind can bring you a healthy incremental happiness by establishing relationships and meaning with the near infinite forms and life forms in our world.
~ Tom Clausen
In his essay, A Basic Human Approach to Happiness, Br. David Steindl-Rast writes: “the one basic condition of the human psyche that accounts for genuine happiness is living in the now.” He acknowledges the difficulty in putting this sense of awareness into words and thus quotes T.S. Eliot:
… happiness — not the sense of well-being,
Fruition, fulfilment, security or affection,
…but the sudden illumination—
It is this “sudden illumination” to which haiku opens us.
When we slow down enough to truly notice the distinctions in our moments, offer our attention to the intricacies of our lives, and make ourselves available to unexpected illumination, awareness, and appreciation — as readers and writers of haiku do — we are living gratefully. With this grateful orientation, we appreciate more of what is already in our lives and thereby open ourselves to ever-new sources of wonder and joy.
Tom Clausen offers the following advice:
If certain things bring you happiness, recognize that the more that you relate to and can find happiness the happier you may be. For instance if you had not considered clouds a source of happiness, think of how they are free to see, are there almost every day, and are varied, changing constantly, and something that could be a source of wonder, observation, and happiness.
Just as we can cultivate gratefulness through practice, we can cultivate a haiku sensibility (which, as we now see, can also inspire a grateful sensibility) through continual dedication and devotion.
Tom further advises us to:
Keep writing whether you think it is good or not… the practice and habit of writing is fairly important in the same way that physical health is linked to consistent physical exercise. Mental and emotional health are as much tied to finding what helps you achieve peace of mind, equilibrium, and stability. A regular writing practice is a wonderful way to engage yourself and work your way through the emotional landscape of your life especially the tough times and challenges.
Today we invite you to reflect on your experience over the past week and consider adding haiku as a regular practice to your life: How has haiku impacted you and the way you see the world? What might an intention to continue your practice look like?
As this is the final day of our time together we invite you also to share one haiku which has been particularly meaningful to you. If you haven’t shared in the reflection area yet, now is your opportunity to embrace vulnerability and step into the shared belonging of creativity. With true haiku sensibility — surprise us!
With a deep bow to you for your attention to and engagement with this practice. We are so grateful.
Enjoy the full eight-day Exploring Haiku practice.