who turns

December 18th, 2014

upside-down-world-earth-grass-sky1-250x300The only difference between a buddha and a sentient being is upside-down thinking – Buddha

Who turns this into that?
Sound into noise?
Aroma into odor?
Taste into pleasure or disgust?
Who turns yes into no?
Grace into disgrace?
Who turns the present into the past?
Who turns the now into the not-now?
As-it-is into as-it-should-be?
Silence into restlessness?
Stillness into boredom?
The ordinary into the menial?
Who turns pain into suffering?
Change into loss?
Grief into woe?
Woe into the story of your life?
Who turns stuff into sentiment?
Desire into craving?
Acceptance into aversion?
Peace into war?
Us into them?
Who turns life into labor?
Time into toil?
Enough into not-enough?
Who turns why into why not?
Who turns delusion into enlightenment?
Who thinks?
Who turns?

All practice is the practice of making a turn in a different direction.

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  1. Whoooo…baby!
    Enjoyed this little turn of the DNA…

    Comment by Beth Patterson — March 13, 2010 @ 5:59 am

  2. Question,

    This post made me think:

    How do you train your own brain to change its pattern of thinking?


    Comment by trina — March 13, 2010 @ 6:13 am

  3. Trina,
    By practicing meditation.

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — March 13, 2010 @ 3:00 pm

  4. Yes! This is waking up. For me the first step is to recognize my upside down thinking which only happens when I am committed to my practice. It’s so easy to just let it slip but every time I do life offers me a banana peel and I am jolted awake so back I go to my cushion with gratitude!

    Comment by Penny — March 13, 2010 @ 3:36 pm

  5. Nice! yes, it is all about different way to be present. Simple, yet incredibly difficult.

    Comment by Marguerite Manteau-Rao — March 13, 2010 @ 6:50 pm

  6. when I find myself thinking, turning because it feels so peaceful and free, i am often confronted by many people around me. trying to control, pull me back, push me in… any words to help me stay strong in my turning? i find myself feeling so down when they do this to me.

    Comment by Alyson — March 14, 2010 @ 2:28 pm

  7. This has stayed with me all day, as I notice all the things the mind turns into other things. So freeing.

    Comment by Jena — March 15, 2010 @ 9:14 pm

  8. I do.

    Comment by Kaishu — March 16, 2010 @ 9:27 pm

  9. Who knows? Who knows. 🙂 (Shades of The Doctor.) Love the poetic expression.

    Comment by Donn — December 18, 2014 @ 3:37 pm

  10. It is interesting thought that a writer could replace all of the words Who with the word What and change the meaning of the question altogether. However in doing so, you would eliminate the personal accountability/responsibility that is required for being present. I think the answer is to own it without attachment to the outcome.

    Comment by Susan — December 18, 2014 @ 7:45 pm

  11. No judgment, that’s all.

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — December 18, 2014 @ 7:49 pm

  12. Yes to this.
    It reminds me of the confusion I felt (and still feel) when I was taught that our eyes turn the image we see upside down and send it to the brain upside down. The thought that the whole world is the other way around from what we see, pfew.
    @ Trina, when my thinking confuses me “The Work” by Byron Katie has helped me enormously with that. She calls it an active form of meditation. It turns around a lot of thinking that hinders us. On Youtube there are a lot of clips where you can see her doing The Work with people. You can also read more at thework.com.
    I would like to wish everybody wonderful holidays, and a mindful New Year.

    Comment by Simone — December 19, 2014 @ 2:33 am

  13. Over the last several months, I’d created quite a quagmire of judgement and suffering for myself. I was quite stuck. Though I don’t identify with a savior’s birth this season, I was reminded to turn towards those that save me from myself. Upon making that turn I heard “Your life is your practice” which I learned from someone I still refer to as Momma Zen. Having that wisdom to turn towards freed me to make several more turns, and essentially become unstuck. For giving words to my process with this post, and for giving me wisdom to turn towards, I’m grateful.

    Comment by Joan — December 19, 2014 @ 11:29 am

  14. all is practice

    Comment by ann — December 28, 2014 @ 5:38 pm

  15. Maezen this is so beautiful and perfect. I have had a poem of yours on my fridge for the last 2 years that has sustained me through many things. It will now receive a playmate to sit beside:) Every word is a teaching that will last me a lifetime.

    Comment by Kirsten — January 6, 2015 @ 6:21 pm

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