I was writing an article about mountain pose for my professional association today and it made me think of my favourite poem/practice by Thich Nhat Hanh (from his book "Touching Peace").
We are all Flowers
Breathing in, I know I am breathing in.
Breathing out, I know I am breathing out.
Breathing in, I see myself as a flower.
Breathing out, I feel fresh.
Breathing in, I see myself as a mountain.
Breathing out, I feel solid.
Breathing in, I see myself as still water.
Breathing out, I reflect on things as they are.
Breathing in, I see myself as space.
Breathing out, I feel free.
If you don't know of him, Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese monk, poet, Zen master, lifelong peace activist, and one of the most respected Buddhist teachers in the world, based at Plum Village, a meditation community in France.
I was taught this poem as a mediation practice when I was doing a module called "Meditation as Therapy" as part of my Holistic Counselling qualification in 2006.
The idea is that you repeat the lines silently to yourself as you breath. For example:
breath in as you think "Breathing in, I see myself as a mountain."
breath out as you think "Breathing out, I feel solid."
breath in as you think "mountain".
breath out as you think "solid".
You can use the whole poem or just parts of it as your practice. You can go through it once, then just keep repeating the single words. Part of it's beauty to me is the variety of ways to use it AND the depth of meaning/being you can explore as you use it.
It is also not a long practice, so I invite you to take a few minutes out of your day today to have a play with it. I think you will find it very nourishing.
Let us know how you go in the comments!
Karen Howard is one of the co-founders of The She Oak Collective, the Vice-President of her professional association the Australian Holistic Healers & Counsellors Association, a Counsellor, Coach, Energetic Body Worker and teacher of gentle yoga.