I had a friend once who lost all faith in renewal.

He looked out through caged eyes and saw a world beyond saving.

He would seek me out, as if he wanted company in the land of permanent despair.

Like making closing arguments before judge and jury, he would always "rest his case" by asking: 

"Now what?"

_ _ _

Now walk, especially among trees if you can.

Matsuo Basho and Kierkegaard frequently relied upon this prescription.

Sit for an hour without interruption. View it as surfing or riding waves in a small boat.

Better yet, view thoughts as clouds and become the Great Sky of Mind.

This was Jia Dao's way.

Brew a cup of tea. Yunnan Gold or Matcha.

Watch a chickadee dine on a feast of seeds you put out with your own hands.

I do this every morning, at dawn.

Read verses of Lady Momoko Kuroda, Rengetsu, Mary Oliver. They restore faith, faithfully.

Read a few key phrases of Suzuki Shosan; take them to heart as if you're being sent on a secret mission.

Don't underestimate how one's living space affects heart-mind. It is like water.

Does yours flow, or is it like a stagnant pond birthing a hell realm of gnats, mosquitos, fruit-flies, and clutter?

Whatever you do, bring your full breath to it. 

Shallow breathing means you are more dead than alive.

Grab three coins. Toss them six times.

Consult the Book of Changes while listening to crickets, frogs, and rain.

Ponder for a moment that there is, in fact, a world beyond saving;

that it is here, now, cascading swiftly toward its predictable end.

Alongside it, also here-now, another world, bright, eternal.

Be part of that one.


(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen /

image: "Yamato Honzo", a book of botany by samurai physician Kaibara Ekken

To download the Balinese atmospheric field recordings of Tyler Newnan, visit his Bandcamp page at

This poem appears in The School of Soft-Attention, now available for order from Homebound Publications or