Letter to a Young Poet
We have no reason to harbour any mistrust against our world,
for it is not against us.
If it has terrors, they are our terrors.
If it has abysses, these abysses belong to us.
If there are dangers, we must try to love them,
and only if we could arrange our lives,
in accordance with the principle that tells us
that we must always trust in the difficult,
then what now appears to us to be alien
will become our most intimate and trusted experience.
How could we forget those ancient myths
that stand at the beginning of all races –
The Guest House
This being human is a guest-house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
This is an essay I wrote almost nine years ago, describing the ins and out of meditaiton. My understanding of Mindfulness practice has evolved considerably from then, but the essay has a certain directness about it!
HOW TO MEDITATE.
©2002 Alistair Appleton. Please feel free to print off and read at home.
First you have to ask yourself: "why meditate?" There's no point starting a long-term project like meditation unless you have a damn good reason for doing it.
First and foremost, the answer to "why meditate?" would be: I want to meditate because right now my brain is fried.
[This is the text to the performance I created together with Tazul Tajuddin for the Spitalfields Festival in June 2007. It was woven into 25 minutes of astonishing music by Tazul sung by 4 incredible singers - Idliko, Ed, Julian and Fran. I created video that formed a background of different kinds of water - flowing, still, blue and white, sunny and grey - which ran continuously throughout.]
This is one of the seminal works of guidance for practitioners in the Thai Forest school as practiced in the west. Succito is the abbot of Chithurst Monastery in Sussex and these talks are the distillate of the silent meditative tradition as expounded by Ajahn Chah in Thailand.
This is a very subtle and complex text but it repays close study because in many ways it is the best description of our mental processes whilst meditating.
This is an interview with one of my teachers, Ajahn Amaro, the English abbot of Abhayagiri monastery in Northern California. He talks about the benefits of the monastic life but also makes a very charming case for the Buddhist dharma.
The interview appeared in a 1995 edition of Inquiring Mind Magazine and was conducted by Wes Nisker and Terry Vandiver on the porch of Ajahn Amaro's residence in Marin County.
A very powerful paper given at a Mindfulness conference given by Arthur Zajonc on the importance of intimacy and 'love' rather than knowledge in our educational insititutes. He quotes heavily from Rilke about the poignant interplay between aloneness and togetherness and points at the essential quality of initimacy if any true knowledge of the world is to be won.
Repays reading, despite the rather academic framework.