and if today were the last,
or the last before that?
what would your freedom be?
its textures, scents, taste?
how would it envelop you,
and would you leap into it?
what would the expression
of your love be, how wide?
of all the remaining steps,
the in and out of breath,
how many are dedicated
to all the small devotions
that, like a trail in the woods,
will always be our guide
to places of greatest purity?
How many sacred moments
do we feel the pulse of life
dancing like magic in us,
so we know, really know,
how gloriously we are here?
Jack Kerouac was many things – writer, philosopher, artist, wanderer … and I’d like to add mystic to this list. In “How to Meditate”, he brings his unique literary voice to a process that, in the end, defies linguistic expression. Sometimes, though, a stunning rendering of words can be as meditative as the act of sitting on the cushion seeking peace. Meditation is not just something that happens on a cushion.
Whenever we can step back from our traditional way of looking at the world – from our busy minds, our many conditionings – and become present within our bodies and surroundings … this is meditation. From this space of presence and mindfulness, we can go deeper with our contemplations, and find that an opening has been provided, so that we can experience a vastness of experience typically unavailable to us.
We can access this state while on a long walk, surrounded by trees and and mountains and rivers, by staring into someone’s eyes with real presence and compassion, and also by reading the inspired words of others. May these words fuel calm and happiness for you!
HOW TO MEDITATE
— lights out —
fall, hands a-clasped, into instantaneous
ecstasy like a shot of heroin or morphine,
the gland inside of my brain discharging
the good glad fluid (Holy Fluid) as
I hap-down and hold all my body parts
down to a deadstop trance — Healing
all my sicknesses — erasing all — not
even the shred of a “I-hope-you” or a
Loony Balloon left in it, but the mind
blank, serene, thoughtless. When a thought
comes a-springing from afar with its held-
forth figure of image, you spoof it out,
you spuff it out, you fake it, and
it fades, and thought never comes — and
with joy you realize for the first time
“Thinking’s just like not thinking —
So I don’t have to think