Home > Lessons for the Modern Man, Men and Spirituality, Poems > A FRIDAY POEM FROM “RHYTHMS AND CYCLES” – What Is This?

A FRIDAY POEM FROM “RHYTHMS AND CYCLES” – What Is This?

Today’s poem doesn’t exactly belong in the “Rhythms and Cycles” collection; and yet, the lessons come at us, sometimes in waves. And we have to deal with the lessons as they come. I learned this Koan through an article in Tricycle magazine several years ago and do apply it often when I catch myself in the midst of some crisis (lesson). The practice is to ask this question when something disrupts the flow of life. And when the first answer arises, ask the question again. Continue this cyclic, nested examining, analyzing and asking, spiraling in until a satisfactory answer manifests. Try it the next time you meet up with frustration!

What Is This?

A Koan in the Korean Zen tradition:
When impatience arises ask
What is this?

A question to penetrate to the essence.
When fear stares from the mirror ask
What is this?

A lesson in each waking moment.
When doubt and despair assail ask
What is this?

An offering to self and life and growth.
When wonder and joy abound ask
What is this?

©2014 Richard W. Bredeson. All rights reserved.

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