Contentment

The morning glory!
It has taken the well bucket.
I must ask elsewhere for water.

Chiyo-ni (1703-1775)

According to the beautiful collection of poetry by women called Women in Praise of the Sacred, Chiyo, considered one of the foremost women haiku poets, began writing at the age of seven. At 57 she became a Buddhist nun — not, she said, in order to renounce the world, but as a way to “teach her heart to be like the clear water which flows night and day.”

The morning glory haiku, one of Chiyo’s most famous, was described by D.T. Suzuki in the following way:

“The idea is this: One summer morning Chiyo the poetess got up early wishing to draw water from the well… She found the bucket entwined by the blooming morning glory vine. She was so struck… that she forgot all about her business and stood before it thoroughly absorbed in contemplation. The only words she could utter were ‘Oh, the morning glory!’ At the time, the poetess was not conscious of herself or of the morning glory as standing against [outside] her. Her mind was filled with the flower, the whole world turned into the flower, she was the flower itself…”

“When beauty is expressed in terms of Buddhism, it is a form of self-enjoyment of the suchness of things. Flowers are flowers, mountains are mountains, I sit here, you stand there, and the world goes on from eternity to eternity; this is the suchness of things.”  (Emphasis added.)

***

Yesterday afternoon while lounging on the yoga deck, pondering class, enjoying the sunshine, I was struck by the fortune of the moment. The gift of that very breath. Oh, yes, there was a faint smell of dog shit from the lawn, and someone in the neighborhood was using a blower, and there were probably other things I could have pointed out as less than perfect.

But it was the suchness of the moment. For just a beat, I was not pushing any of it away, or trying to hold on, or trying to make it better. It was the inner Ahhh.

In Yoga, this could be interpreted as Samtosha or contentment. Not that perfect conditions are being handed on silver platter. Rather that there is the possibility of not standing against or outside of anything. That things, in their suchness, just are.

And there was the inspiration for class. And as suchness would have it, all women turned up for both classes.

It felt very special. Thank you, beautiful, courageous women for stepping into the suchness of your experience. For making room for all of it. For touching the possibility of Samtosha. I was absorbed.

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4 Responses to “Contentment”


  1. 1 JennaFrancisco May 14, 2010 at 1:36 am

    So glad you shared that experience. Those moments are great reminders how beautiful and right the present moment is. I need some reminding these days. Thank you. :-)

    • 2 blogasana May 16, 2010 at 12:07 am

      We all need the reminders once in a while, huh? I find your blog a good reminder!! Thanks for the comment :-)

  2. 3 JennaFrancisco May 19, 2010 at 5:30 am

    It’s ironic that you mention my blog because I wrestle with the idea that it’s a time-waster and something that pulls me out of the moment and into a la-la land. I’m going to write about this soon, so I hope you’ll share some wisdom.


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