I’ve been meditating for 22 years. I started in class in college. It was not a class on meditation, but a class in theatre. While the others were practicing, I would sit in a corner and practice my meditation. I had been given a copy of “The Way of Zen” by Alan Watts. It was a gift from my girlfriend at the time. I was utterly in love with her, or so I thought. The book had knocked my socks off. It was 1987.
I sat against the wall in this theater while others were rehearsing. I leaned against the wall because I wanted to sit upright in as close a proximity to lotus position as possible. I could hardly keep my back straight in the middle of the room, so I leaned against the wall. I had read somewhere that keeping the spine erect was important.
It was not a bad first effort, and it rendered enough peace and calm in me to have me try it again. Of course my thoughts were running rampant at the time, but meditation did seem to slow the parade a bit, even then. Part of the problem I faced was the judgment of others, for it did appear a bit weird, or as if was trying to show off like some kind of Zen freak. I was learning a great deal about holding my own and doing what I needed to do for myself in the face of the judgments of others.
The relationship soon ended and I was an absolute mess. I had my heart crushed, and began to write. I wrote in an effort to stay centered in the midst of the emotional turmoil. I remember walking through a grocery store and being in a catatonic state, seeing the colors of all the products but it not really making any sense. I wrote about my pain.
Through this, I started learning how to capture my innermost feelings on paper. The relationship came to an end and yet I continued my writing. It was not like keeping a journal, but a note here and there to help me organize my thoughts on my personal growth. This evolved into a natural impulse to write down simple truths about myself and my process as they came up.
I would get creative with them, and playful. Some of the deeper self-truths appeared to be universal in nature, and it was not long before they began to resemble poetry. It was years before I started referring to them as poems. I now have somewhere near 1200 of them, on all sorts of subjects. A great number of them are insightful, humorous, and focus on the simple yet profound truths that one comes to know through meditation. They can be found at http://www.short-
Several years ago I decided I wanted to publish them. My first approach was to put them together in book form, and so I did. I self-published, and sold a few. What bothered me about this is that they have so much to offer and were reaching very few people. I wanted to share them. I wanted them to be read. I decided to put them online, free for all to browse.
They are now spread out over four different websites, divided by subject matter. There is one for Love Poems, one for Social and Political poems, one for what I call Highcoo, and one for Short Zen Poems. The Zen Poetry site is where the deeper messages are. Here are a few examples:
seven newspaper boxes
lined up on a sidewalk
waiting for something to happen
life must be something
we live over and over again
until we can manage
to live it all at once
answer cell phone
Honest to God
to fight over truth
is simply to fight
out of fear
Come enjoy this unique collection of over 200 Zen Poems at http://www.short-
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Pagence Press publishes the short-form prose and poetry of Benjamin Dean. Benjamin lives in Colorado and publishes his own Highcoo, Short Zen Poetry, Short Love Poetry, Short Political and Social Poetry, as well as writing Natural Healing articles for hist site www.hownatureheals.com.