I was so excited to get a last taste of the bonds I formed with her over our course; writing poetry and drawing in the afternoon sun on the beach…this is beginning to sound like a romance novel…anyhow…I RIPPED open the packaging to find two things: a hand drawn logo for my blog “Wandering Lotus” and a 1939 edition of Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass and Democratic Vistas”.
She had remembered our long discussions on the infiltration of yogic and Buddhist philosophy on western intellectuals, poets and artists, and sent me a prized possession, for which I am forever grateful.
A few years ago, while a student at Colby College, took an amazing class entitled “Buddhism in American Poetry” by Professor Peter Harris. In the class, I discovered how much Buddhist thought had influenced American poetry for decades. Reading poetry could therefore become a meditation and a practice in yoga.
As I sat down to read my new gift I opened my self up to the poetry as a meditation and studied it for its poignant moments of utter awareness, of the realization of attachment and detachment, of its acceptance of the ebb and flow of time and pain. Walt Whitman practiced compassion for all beings in his poetry, self-awareness, meditation on reality, acceptance of the use of language as a mere human convention, realized the cyclical nature of time, accepted pain and suffering as a result of attachment and strove to praise the natural world continuously in his poetry. Maybe he did do yoga…?
So today I am just going to leave you with a few passages from the great Walt Whitman that may inspire your practice today….
To be in any form, what is that?
(Round and Round we go, all of us, and ever come back thither),
If nothing lay more develop’d the quahaug in its callous shell
were enough. –Song of Myself
I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars,
And the pismire is equally perfect, and a grain of sand, and the egg of the wren,
And the tree-load is a chef-d’oeuvre for the highest,
And the running blackberry would adorn the parlours of heaven,
And the narrowest hinge in my hand puts to scorn all machinery,
And the cow crunching with depress’d head surpasses any statue,
And a mouse is a miracle enough to stagger sextillions of infidels. –Song of Myself
I hear and behold God in every objext, yet understand God not in the least…- Song of Myself
From imperfection’s murkiest cloud,
Darts always forth one ray of perfect light,
One flash of heaven’s glory -Song of the Universal
Whoever you are, I fear you are walking the walks of dreams,
I fear these supposed realities are to melt from under your feet and hands,
Even now your features, joys, speech, house, trade, manners, troubles, follies, costume, crimes, dissipate away from you,
Your true soul and body appear before me…-To You
And one of my favorites by Mr. Whitman…reminds me of meditating on the beach in Goa, India at dawn…
ON THE BEACH AT NIGHT ALONE
On the beach at night alone,
As the old mother sways her to and fro singing her husky song,
As I watch the bright stars shining, I think a thought of the clef of the universes of the future,
A vast similitude interlocks all,
All spheres, grown, ungrown, small, large, suns, moons, planets,
All distances of place however wide,
Akk distances of time, all inanimate forms,
All sould, all living bodies though they be ever so different, or in different worlds,
All gaseous, watery, vegetable, mineral processes, the fishes, the brutes,
All nations, colours, barbarisms, civilisations, languages,
All identities that have existed or may exist on this globe or any globe,
All lives and deaths, all of the past, present, future,
This vast similitude spans them and compactly hold and enclose them.