Mindfulness poetry can be a powerful practice to incorporate into your daily life. These ten mindfulness poems could possibly change your life!
There is so much noise around us, and future thinking often causes worry and panic. Therefore taking time out to truly be present and focus on the here and now can be a struggle.
But the experience of mindfulness in the form of meditative poems can be a calming source and bring peace of mind to your thoughts because poetry enables us to pay attention and be present.
If you don’t know where to begin, these beautiful mindfulness poems will help you to think about life, and kindness and help you create a formal mindfulness practice. Start introducing these mindful poems into your daily meditation practice.
10. Enough by David Whyte − a slice of wisdom
“Enough. These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.
This opening to the life
We have refused again and again
This poem reminds us that we are enough as we are.
9. Love After Love by Derek Walcott − promoting self-love
“…You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life”.
This poem is stunning, showing that we need to gravitate towards self-love and enjoy the life we have.
8. The Way It Is by William Stafford − believe in your choices
“There’s a thread you follow.
It goes among things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread. But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop times unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread”.
It’s a form of mindful poetry to help cultivate patience in our life choices. We learn to trust our hearts and be aware, so we can truly experience life.
7. Keeping Quiet by Pablo Neruda − human life is precious; slow down
“…It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.
If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead in winter
and later proves to be alive.
Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go”.
The poem is perfect for spiritual practice. It speaks about the act of stillness and slowing life down.
6. Breath of Life by Danna Faulds − one of the best poems about mindfulness
“I breathe in All That Is
to take everything in,
as if my heart beats
the world into being.
From the unnamed vastness beneath the
mind, I breathe my way to wholeness and healing.
Each Breath a “yes,”
and a letting go, a journey, and a coming home.”
This is one of our favourite mindfulness poems that reminds us about the value of breathing in our spiritual practice.
5. Meeting the Light Completely by Jane Hirshfield − presence
“Even the long-beloved
an unrecognised stranger.
the chipped lip
of a blue-glazed cup,
of a yellow curtain,
flooding and falling,
ruin your heart.
A table painted with roses.
An empty clothesline.
the found world surprises—
that is its nature.
what is said by all lovers:
‘What fools we were, not to have seen'”.
Appreciating the beauty in this world.
4. Kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye − defining kindness as a way of living a compassionate life
”Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he, too, was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to gaze at bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend”.
The beauty in this poem lies in the message that to experience people’s kindness, you need to experience hurt, sorrow, and loneliness. Truly a powerful mindfulness practice.
3. The Journey by Mary Oliver − a focus on wellbeing
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do-
determined to save
the only life you could save”.
This poem speaks to leaving bad decisions behind and trusting your mind giving you peace in your heart.
2. The Guest House by Rumi − treat your emotions with kindness
“This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honourably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond”.
Trust and welcome your emotions, and treat them with kindness.
1. Everything Is Waiting for You by David Whyte − a thought-provoking poem
“…Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream ladder to divinity”.
This poem allows you to sit in your present moment without judgement.
The Bud by Galway Kinnell: This is a beautiful mindful poem about self-blessing and growing.
Always We Hope by Lao Tsu: This stunning poem refers to trusting your inner guide.
Awakening Now by Danna Faulds: This is a great poem about being mindful of time and living in the moment.
Which mindful poems speak to you?
The collection of poems above is some of the most beautiful mindful poems that speak wisdom to us.
Can writing and poetry be used to meditate or cultivate mindfulness?
Yes, both writing and poetry can help you explore worlds of your awareness and deepen your formal practice of mindfulness.
What is ‘Why Mira Can’t Come Back to Her Old House’?
A poem that was written by Mirabai, who lived in the sixteenth century, and translated by Robert Bly. Mirabai presented Mira as a free spirit experiencing the divine and choosing her path.