by Tracey Rich

Sitting on cushion,
Small birds fluttering about,
Like thoughts in my mind.
--Matthew Coleman

I love haiku. A good haiku can ring like a bell in the heart when it hits the right tone. It can produce the perfectly sustained note and at the same moment be the elegant punctuation that stops thought in its track, bringing an aha clarity. Like a koan riddle revealed, it can be the meditation that aligns heart and mind and be a satori. And, it can simply please all of your senses, simultaneously.

Haikus traditionally are Japanese poems written about a season. We learned about them in English class when we were young. I have loved using haikus in my teaching to hone something to its essence. Using the writing of a haiku as a tool to refine a question or a topic to just its bare essentials, is a worthy exercise whose challenge can produce flashes of insight. In these sessions, our season was often Yoga, and the beautiful task was to distill weeks of foundational education into three lines comprised of the traditional five-seven-five syllable rendering.

The above haiku was written in traditional verse by a dear friend and a longtime, beloved teacher of Mahayana Buddhism, Matthew Coleman. Recently shared with me, it rang a bell in my heart at the beginning of this new year.

We would love to read your haikus, anytime.