Those Circles Have Broken Apart

When I left the only home I’d ever known,

I thought I’d left everything behind.

But I was still carrying

all the years

of running

back and forth

and around in circles

after this or that.

Just sitting still,

those circles

have broken apart

and been carried away

by this simple wind

blowing in 

and out.

All your old thoughts

like snow falling

on warm ground.

Just sit back and watch.

Another poem from the book, The First Free Women, an anthology of poetry by the first nuns to receive ordination from the Buddha.

The mind, your mind, my mind, carries the habit-patterns of all of our running around after this or that; attraction to what we think will save us or make us happy. Pushing away what we think will not. Ignoring the rest.

When we sit in meditation, we see that. We see each thought as it arises. We feel its impact on the body; a tingling, a twinge, a looking away from what we cannot face. Chill in the hands. Fire in the belly or throat.

You watch the ‘circles’ of grasping and aversion unfold: They arise. They do what they do. Little chains of reactivity. Ephemeral wisps of dream-like energy. A memory. A feeling. An idea to do something different.

But sitting still, watching the mind, we can see them for what they are…a wind, blowing in and out. Thoughts are nothing—and yet they are so impactful. Watching carefully, it’s different. They are snow falling on warm ground. They come. They are there. They melt away, leaving a smaller and smaller trace until only seconds later they are nothing.

We don’t have to believe what they tell us. We don’t have to do what they suggest. We don’t have to push them away. Right before our eyes, the thoughts and stories that have plagued us for years, melt, leaving no trace. They are powerless unless we give them power.

In the moment of seeing that, we are free. Completely and utterly liberated. Just sit back and watch. Rest in the space liberated by a thought dissolving and enjoy a breath of freedom. Do this until it comes naturally. Until you are walking and working and living in freedom.

--The First Free Women (pp. 21-22). Shambhala. Matty Weingast.

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