Momentary Freedom

The photo is of a papaver hybridum, or "Queen's Poppy", in our backyard. Each magnificent bloom lasts only a day before its ephemeral beauty blows away. Like a short-lived blossom, each moment is a purity unto itself. Ephemeral. Unrepeatable. Unique. Having its own meaning apart from any other moment.

Our minds try to categorize and order our moments. We assign them meaning and place them in the context of other moments. That's normal and necessary in order to function in daily life. The downside is that we lose the purity of the moment. We create stories to explain or control events, which takes us out of experiencing the next moment freely, as it is.

I go out into the yard and step in dog poop. I'm annoyed. I clean off my shoe. It's an unpleasant task. As I approach the door to the house, I have a choice.

One option: Will I carry the annoyance inside with me? Will I keep it alive with a narrative about how the dogs always poop in the most inconvenient places and then blame myself for not picking up the poop every day? As I turn the door knob, I'm still in the backyard, irritated, and I bring that foul mood into the house.

Another option: I leave the annoyance in the backyard. It happened. I choose to move on to the next experience. I turn the door knob and am greeted by two dogs, tails wagging, whose exuberance lights me up.

"Just know, 'I am not the imagination' and be free." Shri Nisargadatta Maharaj (as rendered by Prasanna)

Our imaginations birth art, weave tales, invent products, and dream us into new potentials. They also generate unnecessary drama, prolong suffering, and create negative fantasies that have no root in reality.

You are not what your imagination generates. Know this and be free.

Experience what is happening. Feel the emotions. Perhaps even indulge in weaving a tale around that experience.

Then realize you have a choice:

Buy into the tale as absolutely true and fan the emotional flame it evokes for minutes (or hours, days, even years).

Or hold the tale lightly as one possible perspective and then let it go in order to experience the purity of the next moment.

If the moment is "sticky" (hard to release), breathe and refocus on what is currently happening. Focused attention on the present is an easier path to freedom than trying to let go of the past.

There is choice in every moment. What will you choose next?


Above is a photo I took during my morning meditation walk. Below is a haiku inspired by the photo. Please share a haiku that comes to you as you view the photo. (A traditional haiku is 3 lines: 5 syllables, 7 syllables and 5 syllables.)

Shadowy imprints

From fallen leaves after their

Brief time in the sun.

Elegy for a Fir Tree


Douglas Fir

in our backyard

has died.

Its picture perfect


drew the eye heavenward

through needles and cones

up its narrowing spine

Toward Infinity.

The grandfather of the homestead

made the blue sky coy as it played peek-a-boo

through thin as angel wing foliage.

Now the tree is dead and gone.

Beetles made a weakened old man their target.

Boring through layers of skin, the invaders left behind

ravenous offspring who feasted on the old man's vascular system

until the fatal stroke occurred. His complexion faded from green to yellow to brown

to ashen gray.

This death does not go down easily, yet is the way of things.


He had a long life.

He shaded and

inspired. Avian

families nested

in his steadfast

arms. A stump


where he lived

and died and

will live again.

For even death

is ultimately



in the form of

compost for

whipper snappers

who barely got to

know him in his final

year. In their roots,

stems, leaves, flowers

and fruit, the old man

will find a new lease on life.