Life’s Battles

One of the great gifts of mindfulness generated through meditation is increased resiliency. Lets face it: tough times are an integral part of life. We see this all around us. In the news we are dazed and numbed by repeated acts of senseless mass violence, endless wars, political paralysis and looming ecological devastation.

In meditation , we tend the garden of our heart. Good cultural practices make our gardens resistant to coming storms, drought, pestilence. As Jon Kabat-Zinn argues in Full Catastrophe Living graduates of his mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) program find the practice to be their anchor when the full catastrophe strikes. And what is the origin of the term “full catastrophe”? It is a quote from the 1964 movie Zorba the Greek. So the full catastrophe is the full measure of a life fully lived. It is our shared reality…

Reality Demands

Reality demands
that we mention this:
Life goes on.
It continues at Cannae and Borodino,
at Kosovo Polje and Guernica.

There's a gas station
on a little square in Jericho,
and wet paint
on park benches in Bila Hora.
Letters fly back and forth
between Pearl Harbor and Hastings,
a moving van passes
Beneath the eye of the lion at Cheronea
and the blooming orchards near Verdun
cannot escape
The approaching atmospheric front.

There is so much Everything
that Nothing is hidden quite nicely.
Music pours from yachts moored at Actium
and couples dance on their sunlit decks.

So much is always going on,
that it must be going on all over.

Where not a stone still stands
you see the Ice Cream Man
besieged by children.
Where Hiroshima had been
Hiroshima is again,
producing many products for everyday use.

This terrifying world is not devoid of charms,
of the mornings
that make waking up worthwhile.
The grass is green
on Maciejowice’s fields,
and it is studded with dew,
as is normal with grass.

Perhaps all fields are battlefields,
all grounds are battlegrounds,
those we remember
and those that are forgotten:
the birch, cedar and fir forests, the white snow,
the yellow sands, gray gravel, the iridescent swamps,
the canyons of black defeat,
where in times of crisis,
you can cower under a bush.

What moral flows from this? Probably none.
Only the blood flows, drying quickly,
and, as always, a few rivers, a few clouds.

On tragic mountain passes
the wind rips hats from unwitting heads
and we can’t help
laughing at that.

Wislawa Szymborska

Thanks for reading,



This entry was posted in gratitude, meditation, mindfulness, poetry, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Life’s Battles

  1. Corie says:

    I like the poem. Life does indeed go on.

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