Poem: Smiling with My Pain

I feel the pain. It hurts. It hurts very much. I want to smash something, someone, anything. It hurts. It hurts very much. Rage and anger boil within me. It hurts. It hurts very much. I feel inadequate, useless, pathetic; After all it's only pain. But it hurts. It hurts very much.

I stop.

I breathe. I breathe in the stale rank air which surrounds me. I begin to calm, to slow down. I begin to know that I am breathing. As I breathe in, I know I am breathing in. I greet the air. As I greet the air, It tastes sweet and fresh. It tells me of newly mown meadows and mountain valleys. I continue to breathe; Each breath being As if it were the first new beautiful breath of my life.

I hurt. I hurt very much. But I begin to feel safe. I begin to smile. My fixed, clamped, teeth part, Just a little. The tip of my tongue gently brushes my awakening mouth.

My numbed, compressed lips open. They move and begin the forming of a very small, fragile smile. My hard, staring eyes begin to soften. They crease around their edges. They open. I begin to see. I hurt. I hurt very much. But now I know everything will be all right.

As my smile continues to find its way, And my breath brings peace and calm, So my shoulders drop. My tense, aching muscles ease. As my smile mingles, merges and lovingly takes hold of my intolerance, anger and frustration, So love, peace and understanding arrive. I take a long, slow, beautiful breath,

And let my mind dwell on something good and wonderful. I forget that I hurt.

I sense the love, joy, happiness and laughter Of my brothers and sisters in the Dharma, gathered round the long tables; In the warm steamy kitchen, Purposefully wrapping earth cakes in preparation for the New Year's celebrations. I feel the strength of the green banana leaves, As I carefully wrap them round the sticky rice, and tie them with string. I hear the laughter of my brother as I get it all wrong, And he shows me, Again, How to wrap the rice. As I touch this beautiful moment, So I open, And am filled with the wonder and joy of my life. I forget to forget that I hurt.

With the love and understanding that my breath and smile have brought, I acknowledge and greet the deep hurting pain in my body. I smile with my twisted, locked, muscles at the back of my tongue, That hurt so much.

We speak together with love and understanding. I smile with the hard, creased up I knot of muscle at the base of my I spine, That is trying to pull me out of I shape and is the cause of so much pain. I hurt. I hurt very much. But now I know I hurt.

As I open to my pain, To the joy and wonder of my life, So I remember the sound of a teacher's strong, clear voice. I repeat the words that I know so well: "My mind and my body are one." The words travel to the very centre of my being, Like the music of a beautiful bell.

With all my wrong perceptions—I know I am my pain. With all my wrong perceptions—I know I am the cause of my pain. We are one, as I understand, as I do not understand. I know that I hurt. I hurt very much. I But I do not hurt at all. I

Rupert Wilson  Hungerford, England

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