“What holds you in bondage?”
The dharma question insinuates itself
into my thoughts for weeks.
I hadn’t thought I was in bondage
but the question refuses to rest.
Suddenly I can see: It is my habitual nature
that holds me in bondage.
My habitual nature trudges
in ever deepening and narrowing ruts.
My treasured patterns weave a thick web
that cocoons me from really seeing.
Shaken awake, I celebrate.
“But why does my habitual nature
hold me in bondage?”
Yet another dharma dilemma rises up unbidden
to dog me for yet more weeks.
My predictable patterns
create a sense of permanence.
My habitual nature is trying
to construct a safe world
that will be there in the morning.
But permanence is a delusion!
Nothing is permanent.
My habitual nature may want to
protect me, but it only shields me
from the fresh light of awareness.
May I see anew in every moment.
May all beings see anew in every moment.
I do not
do I only
No Thread Left Unwoven
Dried hills weave
in the last light
Leave no part of your being
unwoven in the fabric of your life
While the tidy seamstress with her
pursed lips full of straight pins
cuts frayed threads to the quick
The hills tell me
Even a weakness
can be a strength
How that hunger for approval
inspires me to offer praise
The hills say
Even a strength
can be a weakness
How that hunger for perfection
cuts away what is fine
Can I shed my shears?
Just let these threadbare tatters
weft at will through this life of mine?
The hills sing
Let it be so.
Stephanie Noble‘s poems have been published in a number of journals, including Atlanta Review, IthacaLit, Pilgrimage magazine, Buddhist Poetry Review, DoveTales by Writing for Peace, and Light of Consciousness. Stephanie teaches insight meditation in San Rafael, California and is the author of Tapping the Wisdom Within: A Guide to Joyous Living.
Poet’s note: Poems may be shared with attribution, but please do not alter them.