Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night
with plans and the simple breath
that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness
as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow
as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness
that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day
to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.
By Naomi Shihab Nye
For the next 20 Days I invite you to connect with Mindfulness through poetry. Leave a comment if you’ve enjoyed the poem or post your favorite poem.
Here is a step by step guide on how to engage with this practice:
- Each day I will post a careful selected poem
- Find a quiet place, sit comfortable and read the poem aloud to yourself, preferable more than once. An audio recording will also be available in case you prefer to listen to the poem
- Take the poem into your heart and your body. Become intimate with it and allow it to guide you into intimacy with yourself
- Allow a spaciousness of interpretation, openness of the senses and a deep experience of understanding, distinct from cognitive comprehension.
- Spend some time with the poem, as a way of choosing to be present and mindful.
- Bring the poem into your family and community. Share your experience with your loved ones, including Mindful Brain Community.