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The Poetry of Impermanence, Mindfulness, and Joy Paperback – June 6, 2017
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“In his clear and elegant introduction, John Brehm writes that he hopes these poems will come to be spiritual friends—and that seems to me a wonderful way to meet them... Each time you read one of these poems, a path opens to seeing more precisely, feeling more deeply. You don’t have to be a poet or on any particular spiritual path to appreciate The Poetry of Impermanence, Mindfulness, and Joy. As Brehm reminds us, “Living in the full knowledge that everything changes changes everything. It loosens our grasp and lets the world become what it truly is, a source of amazement.”” -- Ellen Bass, author of The Human Line and Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets
“This collection would make a lovely gift for a poetry-loving or dharma-practicing friend, it could also serve as a wonderful gateway to either topic for the uninitiated.” ― Tricycle
“I simply love this anthology of poetry. John Brehm has mined the hearts and minds of forgotten and famous alike, prompting his readers to stretch ever more gently into this ephemeral existence. These poems, ancient and modern, from East and West, point us to a poignant life, where the gateway to meaning involves learning to notice and include the ten thousand joys and sorrows along the way.”
-- Sarah Powers author of Insight Yoga
“Words have great power to transform human consciousness. This collection of words, mindfully crafted by masters of language, amplifies the possibility of consciousness transformation exponentially. John Brehm has given us a superb selection.” -- Mark Brady, PhD, author of The Wisdom of Listening
“Jubilant, thoughtful, startling, and pure, the poems in The Poetry of Impermanence, Mindfulness, and Joy remind us that every poem is a pond, and every pond a poem. Slow down. Dip your toes. See the ripples in each reflected moon. Swim a while in the deep brilliance of language, image, and sound.” -- Dinty W. Moore, author of The Mindful Writer and Director of Creative Writing, Ohio University
About the Author
- ASIN : 1614293317
- Publisher : Wisdom Publications (June 6, 2017)
- Language: : English
- Paperback : 312 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9781614293316
- ISBN-13 : 978-1614293316
- Item Weight : 7.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 4.5 x 0.7 x 6.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #27,093 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I've given this book to several friends, and each is now singing its praises. This is the kind of book that booksellers "hand sell," one that people pass from friend to friend.
For example: "The poem [by Ryokan, a Japanese monk who lived from 1758-1831] wonderfully dramatizes two ways of being - one that is childlike, spontaneous, open to sudden delight; the other rigid, reactive, always with better things to do than play with children or act like a fool." (p. xix) This would appear, according to Brehm, to be a central theme of Buddhism, but it would seem mostly applicable to monks. How does it address the surgeon who doesn't have time to play with children because he's scheduled to begin operating at 8 AM sharp, when the OR assigned to him will be ready to go, along with nurses, other aides, the anesthesiologist, and the patient? Or the lawyer who must answer the motion calendar at 10 AM sharp or lose his client's case via default? Or the teacher who will become responsible for 25 children when the bell rings at 9 AM sharp? Or the bus driver who is charged with being at a certain stop at a certain time? All these people will hurt other people, and possibly lose their jobs, if they arrive late because they stopped to play with children or act like a fool. How would you like to suffer the excruciating pain of an infected tooth nerve for an extra hour because your endodontist was open to sudden delight along the way without regard to you? It is simply the case that many people often do have better things to do, more important things to do, even essential things to do, than to play or clown around.
Then Brehm responds to a poem by Neruda about a tree in words which cannot mean what he says: "that all things are animated by the same life force that animates us, that all things are our brothers and sisters." (p. xxi) Clearly, Brehm is not speaking only of animals but also plants, like Neruda's tree, so it appears that Buddhism teaches that a head of lettuce, a tomato, and an avocado are our brothers and sisters. But most people would frown on the notion of eating their brothers and sisters, and there are laws against that kind of thing. So does Buddhism teach the moral imperative of starvation? I cannot believe that it does.
The title of this book includes the word Mindfulness, but I fear that what it espouses is mindlessness. Indeed, Brehm virtually says so when he tells you how to read the poems. "What's needed mainly is . . . a willingness to be with what is happening in the poem without worrying too much about what it means." (p. 189) Of course there is a language in which words are not the medium, and you can just be with what's happening, and that is music. As soon as words enter the picture, I just don't see how you can ignore their meaning - or would want to.
(The 3 stars are for the poems contained in this book, some of which are quite good. For the teaching offered by Mr. Brehm, I would give the required minimum of one.)