Thoughts on my Mind

Chevrefeuille of CDHK is focusing on the work of Milarepa this week.   He has posted this poem together with a commentary as to its Buddhist meaning.  Prompt:  songs of milarepa 3

Listen to me, dear shepherd, the protector [of sheep)!
By merely hearing about sugar’s taste, 
Sweetness cannot be experienced; 
Though one’s mind may understand 
What sweetness is, 
It cannot experience directly; 
Only the tongue can know it. 
In the same way one cannot see in full the nature of mind, 
Though he may have a glimpse of it 
If it has been pointed out by others.
If one relies not on this one glimpse, 
But continues searching for the nature of mind, 
He will see it fully in the end. 
Dear shepherd, in this way you should observe your mind. 

© Milarepa

I have to admit I’m lousy at Buddhist meditations where you observe your mind.    I guess it’s about ultimately realizing emptiness – another Buddhist concept I’m lousy at.   I would have to say I am a failed Buddhist.   I’m more of Taoist really.
What intrigues me about the nature of the mind is how our minds are changing because of the internet.   I made the collage below in an attempt to express how access to the internet has expanded my view of the world.   It’s true too much social media can be a collosal distraction and confusion but for me, the benefits of the internet far outweigh the negatives.

– collective consciousness
enriches us all

001 (collage constructed from magazine photos)

In the Void


I created this haiga in response to a poem by the Buddhist sage Milarepa presented as a haiku prompt on Carpe Diem Haiku Kai – Songs of Milarepa

Versatile are flying clouds, 
Yet from the sky they’re not apart. 
Mighty are the ocean’s waves, 
Yet they are not separate from the sea. 
Heavy and thick are banks of fog, 
Yet from the air they’re not apart.
Frantic runs the mind in voidness, 
Yet from the Void it never separates. 
He who can “weigh” Awareness 
Will understand the teaching 
Of Mind-Riding-on-the-Breath.
He who sees wandering 
Thoughts sneaking in like thieves, 
Will understand the instruction 
Of watching these intruding thoughts. 
He who experiences his mind wandering outside, 
Will realize the allegory 
Of the Pigeon and the Boat at Sea*.

© Milarepa



An Irish Blessing

Here’s my own response to the first prompt on my new haiku/haibun prompt site “On the Road”  Prompt – ‘May the Road rise up to meet you’


When I was in Ireland I followed a winding road that led me to the Hill of Tara.  There I sat upon a fairy mound.   All around me the light danced and distances disappeared in a gold haze.   It seemed to me then that I heard the wild, jubilant refrain of the Tuatha de Danann partying in the hollow Earth beneath me.

In my mind’s eye I saw these mythical folk were proud and tall   Their faces had an elvish cast and raiment of silver and ice blue hung around their bodies in shimmering veils. As they appeared before me I felt an energy and power far outside of my normal frames of reference.

Sometimes, even now, I feel the presence of these beings.   They whisper to me in my dreams.   All is not as it seems, they say.   The time of the prophecies draws near.*

Magical light
holding me spellbound
– anything’s possible


*Irish legends say that the Tuatha de Danann are magical beings that inhabited Ireland before the invasion of the Milesian people (the Celts).    At that time the Tuatha de Danann retired to the inner realms within the Earth.  Many prophecies say they will return at a time of great strife to engage with the forces of darkness in one last battle – a battle they will win.

In Jungian psychology the supernatural Tuatha de Danann can be seen as representing the elements in our psyche or unconscious imagination that are currently in hiding because our relationship to the magic of life is damaged.  Following on that idea perhaps it is now when climate changes threatens our very existence that those elements are beginning to emerge from deep within us.  One of the great battles of our age is the battle with the forces of greed, power and the heedless destruction of our planet.  It is battle that takes place both in the outer world and in our own hearts and minds.

While my rational mind feels an affinity with those ideas there is a part of me that holds the feeling that one great day the magical beings in hiding across the Earth will walk among us openly.   In my imagination the Tuatha de Danann lead the way.

Is it a sign?

After reading Linda G. Hill’s funny post Seek a sign where she writes about looking for a sign then seeing a truck full of road signs I decided I needed a sign on whether or not I should go ahead with a haiku prompt site inspired by Jack Kerouac’s haiku that I wrote about  here.    Late yesterday I decided that I wouldn’t go ahead with the project but this morning I find myself wondering whether I made that decision too hastily.

Looking for a sign I got out a set of oracle cards called ‘Native American Oracle Cards” by Laura Tuan, Massimo Rotundo and Kay Walker.   These cards are good for a quick reading because the commentary on each card is very short.  I used the Medicine Wheel Spread suggested in the accompanying book.

Card 1 represents the beginning point of the situation.

001   ELK:    Message – Do only what needs doing, carefully mete out your resources and keep moving until you’ve finished.

                                                          Keywords:   Stamina, overcoming obstacles, strength and will to continue on drawing on magical elemental resources.

(hmmm – well that pretty much covers my doubts of yesterday.   Does the project need doing and do I have the resources, strength and will power to pull it off?   No answers there.

Card 2 represents resources available that should not be wasted.

002  TAIKOMOL, GOD OF RAIN  Message:   Let the waters of your heart burst forth…   Give with no expectation of repayment.

                                                                                                Keywords:  Gestation, solitude, fertility, tears, cleansing, healing.

(Well it’s certainly true that I am bursting ideas and making the site is not a ploy to make money.   Gestating the idea is causing to me spend a lot of time alone.   While I am beset with doubts I’m finding the process of sorting out my ideas very healing.   I am clearing out a lot of mental garbage.)

Card 3 represents ideas or items that need to be released.

003  WOLF Message:   Challenges and struggles often remove things things from our lives.  They also bestow gifts.

                                                          Keywords:   Struggle, difficulty, obstacles, communication, leadership, difficult lessons, initiation, spiritual connection.

(True – that describes what’s happening perfectly)

Card 4 represents external resources, such as opportunities or advice that can help.

004  CROW Message:   All of life is a lesson.   Learn the lessons, be smart and practice the right use of power.   And don’t take yourself so seriously!

                                                          Keywords:   Power, organization, authority, gifts offered and received, respect, mischievousness.

(I guess I was taking myself a bit too seriously with all of this. When I told the woman who helped me come up with the idea that I’d decided not go ahead with the project she said she was disappointed but that she respected my decision – lol – so that covers the respect aspect anyway.    I like the way the word ‘mischievousness’ is slipped in at the end of the commentary.    Maybe that’s the way forward – to lighten up and bring a little gentle humour and mischievousness to the project.  Jack Kerouac certainly bought that to haiku and, after all, he is the spiritual godfather of the project).

Card 5 represents the possible evolution of the situation

005 THE DREAM CATCHER Message:   Cultivate discernment and make sure you understand all the subtleties before jumping to conclusions.

                                                                                     Keywords:   Choice, discernment, study, knowledge, revised plans.

(hmmm again – did these cards just take me round in a circle?   While I’m studying and gaining knowledge I am still faced with a choice.  I am still asking myself if this project is needed at this time.   My plans are in a constant state of revision.)

Dissatisfied with the way that reading turned out I pulled a single card from another deck.  This one is called “The Enchanted Map” by Colette Baron-Reid.

006  DRAGON’S LAIR:   The path you are on now is one that will challenge you to the core.  That said, peril is also exciting and exhilarating…  A life lived fully isn’t lived only in safety.  A new experience is calling to you, one that will text your courage.  The choice is yours, but there is greater value in risk taking than remaining unchallenged  New territories are waiting to be discovered.

– Nothing ventured, nothing gained I guess.   Time to lighten up, revise my plans and take some risks.

prompt:  Linda G Hill’s SOC prompt – sign