why the hell you’re here

October 22nd, 2013


Practice is like medicine: it is bitter, but good for you. Although it is a bittersweet experience, it is worth it. When you sit on your cushion, it is tearful and joyful put together. Pain and pleasure are one when you sit on your meditation cushion with a sense of humor. — Chogyam Trungpa
The money, I say.
The hassle, I say.
I have no zafu, I think.
I haven’t sat since March, I think.
Sitting is hard, I think.

In my mind’s eye, I see
that wall in front of me,
that damn wall after the blessed
reprieve of a meal or a break time.

I see you bow over
and over and the skies are gray
and dull and I wonder why
the hell I’m there

and then we are all speaking
with one voice even though
our tongues trip on the
unfamiliar syllables

and time is suspended
and the air feels sacred
and maybe there are tears
or maybe no tears
or a sigh
or no sigh

but there is breath
and I forget to wonder
why the hell I’m there.

Beginner’s Mind One-Day Retreat, Nov. 10, Los Angeles
Returning to Silence: A Retreat at Grailville, March 27-30, Loveland OH

Painting “Grailville Retreat” by Melissa Eddings Mancuso
Poem by Anne Erickson


  1. When I found Chogyam Trungpa’s quote in my inbox today, it woke me up. And I’m glad to find it here again, with a poem that takes my breath away. “There is breath enough”. Yes, yes and yes.

    Comment by Roos — October 22, 2013 @ 8:25 am

  2. Dear Maezen–thank you for this most direct teaching.
    I went to churches for years growing up and it was all–life is good, look on the bright side, improve yourself. Yet no one wants to talk about how hard life is, how much loss goes on, as people pass away (even children growing up!). Our culture doesn’t tell us to work to find our true selves, that we can do it but the path isn’t easy. This way you point to is the real deal–finding our connection to all life moment to moment on the cushion, in silence, breathing.

    Comment by daniel — October 22, 2013 @ 11:06 am

  3. Beautiful, Anne.

    Comment by Jena — October 23, 2013 @ 2:40 am

  4. Thank you, Jena.

    Comment by Anne — October 23, 2013 @ 4:15 am

  5. Yes Anne, beautiful indeed. <3

    Comment by Sarah Stanton — November 1, 2013 @ 10:26 am

  6. Thanks, Sarah.

    Comment by Anne — November 5, 2013 @ 2:22 pm

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