Meditation: A Poetic Approach

My understanding of meditation has come mainly from my own practice and through teaching it to others since 1985. It is based in the 'Buddhist tradition' which I understand as being primarily concerned with the cultivation of awareness and kindness and it is these two qualities that have, and continue to be, the focus of my teaching. I do not tend to talk in terms of 'enlightenment' or 'transcendence' as such terms have never really resonated with me and I try my best to teach from what is within my own experience. Kindness and mindful awareness are two things that we can all have a direct 'lived' experience. They provide a way of talking about meditation that does not lead us into abstracted concepts and ideas beyond are own experience. I have been deeply influenced by modern poetry and it is often towards the poets that I look for inspiration and for insight it what it means to be as fully human as we are able.

I have been strongly influenced by the writings of Shunryu Suzuki in particular his book Zen Mind Beginners Mind, with its poetic approach to meditation. In addition I have found the writings of James Hillman of great help in forming my approach, In particular I have found Hillman's ideas around soul and spirit to be very useful.

I emphasise the place of the 'body' in meditation, in terms of grounding our practice in a felt experience of having a breathing body which we can understand poetically as being the natural home or resting place of the mind. I understand meditation as being a subtle physical practice that can leed us into a more loving and intimate relationship with ourselves and the world, of which we are part. Over the last few years I have been developing a way of speaking about meditation as a creative process with three discernible, but related elements. These being: 'Grounding', 'Turning Towards' and 'Seeing Through'.