Tranquility of Tranquility

Meditating on Life

        “It's "just this" he said, "and nothing more." a squirrel on Zen master Fa-ch'an’s roof.

I sit, eyes closed softly,

Mind drifting on a lazy river—

A thought, drifting by,

“Why do my thoughts seem to drift faster than me?”

I let it go, but here comes another one.

This thought is trying to catch up with the first one, complaining about being left dangling, uncompleted—

I tell myself, “Let it go, release it, let it dangle.”

Briefly I open my eyes—"oh no, I let in more thoughts, which one do I tend to first?”

New thought—"I know, I’ll close my eyes and start again. I’ll let them all go back, where?

Somewhere. But why do I want to know where my thoughts go?”
And I answer myself because I knew I would. As a child I would ask my parents questions, as all children do, and when they tired of them, or could not give me a satisfactory answer, they would simply say “because” as if that explained life in a nutshell.

Now that I am older, I’m not necessarily any wiser, but I sit and try to let go of the questions I cannot answer, to let go of my thoughts so I can see with clarity what is and is not. The river is still murky, but the thoughts drift a little slower now and are a little less intrusive. 

When I open my eyes now, and my children ask me why I meditate, I simply say “because.” Then they close their eyes and catch random thoughts of their own drifting on lazy rivers and think their father is only a fish swimming upstream.

Oh, another thought…. were my parents truly wise beyond their years? Were they trying to tell me that “because” is another way of saying “just this, nothing more?” 

—Paul Causey

Affection for the Way

i was not in the fire of the Zendo
but i did see the moonlight
through the roof of my small hut
seeking the way amidst the deep mountain paths
we meet for tea
for that moment
my heart softened
walking far
all the way to the sea
observing the curve of the earth
the vast horizon
that night i slept but
awoke in the darkness hearing
the stars weeping
mourning on the beach
i had become a pile of ash
waiting for the wind 

—Bruce Linton, MFT, Ph.D.


“love is less always than to win
less never than alive
less bigger than the least begin
less littler than forgive”                 ee cummings

I misnamed you in my 
misunderstanding of what 
absence and silence meant. 
It is more than words.

I always advanced toward some 
star, in another galaxy, aboard 
a wobbly ship, sails filled with 
the surreal, sailing away from 
your silence.

Now we come together where 
words may not mean much. 
We are held in a body of mystery, 
where what Is is shrouded. 
No way to know what’s 

I find I’m embraced not embarrassed
to feel I am beginning anew ~ 
nothing lost, much to be gained 
under this sky of blue. I’d like you
to embrace it, too. 

—Martha Ward

Just This

Just this moment
Radiant change 
A sigh
I sleep in humid rain 
with petal soft eyes
like a pause
Empty darkness
Suffering and strength
Like up and down
Like heads and tails
Like you and me
Open aware
The silence
Echoes signs of knowing
The universe vast love
What’s there?
Who’s there? 
Name it 
Hold me gently
For just this moment
Then let me go

—Annecy Báez