Zen poems



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I wrote some sort of zen poems after a nice spiritual experience when a part of my mind identified itself with what could be plain or pure consciousness, something peaceful and still, luminous and incredibly fulfilling. It did not last long but it was really nice.

My eyes were opened and a part of myself was still seeing clearly things, but another part was immersed in this deep spiritual peace. A deep sense of existence, of reality, not something illusory or impermanent. I had the feeling during this short period that it would not be a state permanent for me, at this moment, but that it would always be there and that I just had to open my mind to it to reach the same pure experience.

Here is the little “poem” that came to my mind shortly after the experience :

What is the use of going very high if after you go very low ? Stabilize yourself in consciousness and you will reach happiness.


One or two days after, finding it a little bit too short, I wrote an “extended version” on the same basis :

What is the use of going very high if after you go very low ? What is the use of all these external and short-lived experiences ? Pacify your mind, stabilize yourself in consciousness, and you will reach happiness, peace, clarity of mind, progressive extinction of doubts and disorientation. Be patient, it may be hard, it may be long, but you will succeed.


The main point about these poems is the idea (coming mainly from Sri Ramana Maharsi) that the excessive focus on external (or internal) experiences makes us forget that the solution is maybe to identify with this “mysterious” consciousness which is at the basis of our beings. To be centered in this pure and light consciousness and not projected nearly unconsciously in “external” sensations and experiences. These external sensations progressively form layers on our being but do not give the exhilarating feeling of being, being ourselves, consciousness. Even astral experiences, if you are not centered, can be disappointing, precisely because the identification is not there, because they are like dreams. Looking at a pile of garbage, or whatever, if you are stabilized in consciousness, is wonderful.

Many different paths have been conceived throughout history to reach these kind of stable and pure spiritual experiences, and sometimes some of these paths are contradictory. Some say “you should do that” and others will say the contrary. This can be a little bit confusing. Each individual or spiritual seeker should find the way that corresponds the most to his or her abilities and aspirations, and respect the other paths, knowing that what is important is the “experience” or the “thing” at the center of the different paths (provided, of course, that a few simple and intelligent moral rules are applied).

I don’t think that there is one universal path that could be appropriate for all. Nevertheless I am quite impressed by the power and easiness of the path proposed by Sri Ramana Maharsi. You just have to find the answer to this simple question : “Who am I ?”. By doing so, during meditation or daily life, you become an observer of yourself and notably the thoughts lose their force and appeal. You begin to disengage from the wrong self-identification with the thoughts and reach a state of identification with something which is, according to many sages, eternal and unconditioned, the Self or Consciousness, the basis, the substratum of what we really are, beyond the thoughts, these impermanent and limited features that we usually and wrongly call “us”.

Sometimes it is only after a long and arduous metaphysical quest that we arrive to simplicity and light, as if we had to find a way out of all these words, descriptions and mental confusions. For sure many problems, doubts and misconceptions (we will maybe talk about this in future posts) can arise during the self-investigation technique, vichara in Sanskrit, proposed by Sri Ramana Maharsi (essentially because words are sometimes inadequate to fully describe the path and the goal). Nevertheless the indications and dialogues coming from Sri Ramana Maharsi while answering to the questions of various spiritual seekers can be considered as a lamp guiding us out of obscurity and confusion.

The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharsi, David Godman, page 56 :

Q : the yogis say that one must renounce this world and go off into secluded jungles if one wishes to find the truth.

A : The life of action need not be renounced. If you meditate for an hour or two every day you can then carry on with your duties. If you meditate in the right manner then the current of mind induced will continue to flow even in the midst of your work. It is as though there were two ways of expressing the same idea; the same line which you take in meditation will be expressed in your activities.

Q : What will be the result of doing that ?

A : As you go on you will find that your attitude towards people, events and objects gradually changes. Your actions will tend to follow your meditations of their own accord.

Q : Then you do not agree with the yogis ?

A : A man should surrender the personal selfishness which binds him to this world. Giving up the false self is the true renunciation.

Q : How is it possible to become selfless while leading a life of worldly activity ?

A : There is no conflict between work and wisdom.

Q : Do you mean that one can continue all the old activities in one’s profession, for instance, and at the same time get enlightment ?

A : Why not ? But in that case one will not think that it is the old personality which is doing the work, because one’s consciousness will gradually become transferred until it is centred in that which is beyond the little self.

Q : If a person is engaged in work, there will be little time left for him to meditate.

A : Setting apart time for meditation is only for the merest spiritual novices. A man who is advancing will begin to enjoy the deeper beatitude whether he is at work or not.”


About buddhananda
independent spiritual researcher, I find inspiration mainly into the buddhist, hindu and new age fields. I try to find connections between religions, philosophy, economy and technology. My aim is to contribute to the emergence of a better world. I also practice reiki.

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