Meditation and Poetics – 9


Allen Ginsberg, 1980 – Photograph by Jan Herman

Allen’s class on meditation and poetics (from July 1978) continues

AG: For the purpose of what we’re doing in the class, there may be a Dante-an structure that somebody might want to work with, later. But right now we’re reducing everything right down to the first breath.  The first thought.  To bear attention to what is called Samatha Vipassana in Buddhist meditation.  Samatha  – bare attention ,or attentiveness, or mindfulness, or tranquilization of mind –  and Vipassana — insight.  The Vipassana part is the insight that comes when your mind gets calm enough. When your mind gets calm enough then you hear all the traffic noises.  You notice the breeze coming through. In other words, you’re not thinking about why am I doing this? or (what) is he telling me?, or why did I get in this position?, or you’re not occupied day-dreaming. Or, to the extent that you’ve calmed down your day-dreams and your mind isn’t occupied, but you’re careless, you’re careless, you’re carelessly sitting there breathing, it might be possible to notice, then, a pin drop, to hear a pin drop – Is that clear?  It might take a little time (or) more time sitting than that five minutes, but, after a while, you should be able to hear a pin drop, take into account the vibration of the venetian blind, the noises your own body makes, other people sniffling, shuffling, the whoosh of car wheels, the wind in the trees, the distant racket of traffic on Pearl Street perhaps [outside, Pearl Street in Boulder], whatever hooting you hear from the mountain, whatever thumps rise unborn..

So that becomes a whole mandala of sound which has no particular meaning, actually It’s just, as they say, unborn and that is there.You could think about it and make a meaning for it,or a meaning might rise.Like some interconnected.. You might hear a large clanking crash and then a couple people yelling and then you realize maybe it’s a car crash But you can be careless and let go of the sounds.As you can be careless and let go of your thoughts in the sitting.As you could be careless at a page at a desk in writing, and let go of your thoughts, (and) maybe notate half of it and then go on to the next thought.So the approach to poetics might be similar to the approach to sitting.(Like) I’m just sort of jumping around from thought to thought, now, trying to draw relationships and see how they might be usefully interconnected.

You wanted to talk?

[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately thirty-eight-and-a-quarter minutes in and concluding at approximately forty-one-and-a-quarter minutes in] <

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *