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Poem: The Oracle

Celebration of Tet, 2004


Drop everything

except your breath

and walk toward the altar

like a bride

advancing toward her beloved.

Sit on your cushion

tall and serene,


until your heart’s desire

burns in your chest

like a glowing ember.

Then lay yourself

face down

on the earth,

letting the hard shell

of your mind

crack open,

spilling its arrogance

into the soil.

When you are empty,

stand up.

Breathe three times.

In. Out.

In. Out.

In. Out.

Then leap

into the wishing well.

From the other side

of time,

deep at the bottom

of the well,

a poet will raise his arms,

catching your fall.

His love will lift you

back into time,

holding a ticket to joy.

This ticket

bears a number

that corresponds to a door.

Find this door

and open it.

On the other side

is a path.

Do not hesitate.

There is no mistake.

This is your path.

Straight ahead,

the object of your desire

reaches out

to take your hand.

Emily Whittle, True Wonderful Happiness, lives in Red Springs, North Carolina and practices with the Healing Springs Community of Mindful Living.

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What is Mindfulness

Thich Nhat Hanh January 15, 2020

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