Still water, leaf floats.
Roaring water in canyon.
From space, all is one.
A haiku is more than a type of poem, it is a way of deeply connecting with the physical world and then carefully choosing words to reflect that connection. It is often written in the present tense and focuses on one brief moment in time. The subject is often a poignant experience or a moment of beauty expressed through colorful imagery. The haiku poem emphasizes simplicity, intensity and directness of expression.
A traditional Japanese haiku is a poem composed of seventeen syllables, written in three unrhymed lines of five, seven and five syllables. Please see the example below.
Haiku became a highly valued art form in Japan during the 9th century and has since been practiced by many including Japanese scholars, poets and samurai. There are four master haiku poets from Japan, known as “the Great Four”. They are: Matsuo Bashō, Kobayashi Issa, Masaoka Shiki and Yosa Buson. These poets wandered the countryside observing nature, experiencing life and perfecting their writing. Their work is still the model for traditional haiku writing today. Please see the following haikus written by the samurai, Matsuo Bashō (1644-1694), considered the greatest haiku poet:
A haiku is a potent tool which enables you to transmute what you are thinking, seeing or feeling onto a piece of paper. The process of writing a haiku helps to clear your “monkey” mind and sort out your perceptions, as well as advance your skills of being the watcher of your thoughts and feelings. With practice, you will become more aware of the underlying energy of your thoughts and feelings and feel the courage to examine and even share them. Ultimately, this form of writing can bring you closer to reality, thus advancing your problem solving skills and helping you practice acceptance of your reality and that of others.
Please follow the steps below and thoughtfully select words to reflect your thoughts and feelings. Have fun with the process. It will get easier the more you practice.
1. Choose a person (or people), a place, or an event or situation to focus on. Take a deep breath and allow yourself to become fully present with your subject. Observe your subject for a few minutes, then ask yourself: What am I seeing? Use this information to create a haiku, composed of three lines in the 5-7-5 syllable format. Please record it below:
2. Now, revisit your subject and ask yourself: At this moment, as I see my subject, what am I feeling deep within? Please compose a haiku below to reflect your feelings on your subject:
3. Next, ask yourself: Where within my body do I feel these feelings? Please write a haiku below to describe the location of your feelings:
4. Please take a few minutes to reflect on your 3 haikus, then focus on accepting your feelings about your subject. Now ask yourself: Intuitively, what is the next, right thing to do? Please record your action step below: