“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.

Inner Weather

I do not
wake and
wish that
every day
be clear
and warm
and free
of clouds.
Then why
do I only
value the
sunny days
inside me?

No Thread Left Unwoven

Dried hills weave

yellow ribbons

in the last light

They whisper

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.

image: Country landscape via Shutterstock