Friday, May 3, 2013

I Wish I'd Written This

24. Small Stone 28.4.13

By Daman Dharmachari

Sit in the Cafe.
Hear the Jazz (Probably John Coltrane).
Drink the black coffee.
Eat the haloumi panini.
Think the thoughts.

Mind one, “Shit, what is happening to me?”
Mind two, “What! What does that mean?”
Mind one, “Well, I’m not functioning”

Mind two, “Drink the black coffee,
Listen to the jazz,
Eat the Panini,
Write the words.
This is functioning”

Mind one, “It’s not riding a bike,
It’s not jive dancing,
It’s not abseiling,
It’s not making love with the beloved”

Mind two, “You are too old for these things.
Be content with an active mind.
Think the thoughts”

A few years ago a writer called Fiona Robyn (now Satya Robyn) and her husband, Buddhist priest Kaspalita Thompson, invited people all over the world to participate in writing 'small stones'. A small stone, they explained, is 'a moment of paying proper attention'. The idea is to look outside oneself at the world and find something special, then write about it — as if you were going for a walk, picking up a small stone, then taking it home and polishing it. There is now a facebook group where people post them.

Daman Dharmachari, another Buddhist, is one who posts there. He tells me he has been using it as a sort of 'winter therapy'. 

He works at the Bristol Buddhist Centre in England, as part of the Triratna Buddhist Community. He doesn't regard himself as a writer and there is nowhere on the web where I may refer you to anything else he has written. I gather that this is because there are no writings. But this piece delighted me when I came across it at the facebook group. 

I am not Buddhist, but from what little I know I think this poem expresses a very Buddhist attitude. 'Small stones' are supposed to focus on the world outside oneself, but in this case he is perceiving his own mind as another thing in the world, which one may observe. Even 'Mind two' is not the self.

Be that as it may, I enjoy the conversation between Mind one and Mind two, and particularly the last verse. I love the whole tone, and I like it that the two minds have distinct voices. I think it is a very funny piece. Also, of course, it's deeply serious. 

In fact Mind two's injunctions provide a perfect illustration of what small stones are all about — being here now, in the moment, and paying proper attention.

Poems and photos used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remain the property of the copyright holders (usually their authors).


  1. I've long written small stones, also prompted by Fiona. This is a lovely, peace-filled example of their simplicity, their profundity.

  2. I loved this Kim--Thank you for finding this!

  3. What a marvelous poem. It is always good to laugh at ourselves and step out of our own self to be 'in the moment' even if it is just for a minute. Delightful!

  4. Rosemary, I really enjoyed this particular poem; and I agree with its philosophy completely!

  5. Oh I wish I had written this too! Anyone want to hear from Minds Three and Four? Cackle!

  6. Rosemary, thanks so much for an in-depth look at a master. I am well acquainted with several Zen Buddhists, and they have taught me about mindfulness and breathing, two things which help keep me from HAVING, as Sherry said, "a Mind Three and Mind Four"!!

    I especially appreciate his poem, to which I can relate in so many ways. This internal dialogue plays in my head daily, and I'm relieved to see something similar in print... Amy

    1. It's a good internal dialogue to adopt, I think, if we don't already have it going on. I mean to start reminding myself, 'Drink the black coffee.... Think the thoughts'.

  7. A conversation with the self can be very insightful. The first step to attainment and fulfillment. Thank you Rosemary! for sharing this.


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