NaPoWriMo Day 17: Dictionary Poetry

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Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt…find a specialized dictionary and write a poem using ten words from the dictionary. Guess what kind of dictionary I searched for online? Dictionary of yoga terms, of course.

I love so many of the yogic terms–beautiful sanskrit words that are musical and poetic by themselves. As I started to scan down the list of words,  I could’ve just hung out in the A’s and gotten a poem there…but is that too easy? Eh, whatever. I’ll just grab the first ten words I love and that’s that.

I got the words from here. It’s a glossary of 200 sanskrit terms.

Advaita (“nonduality”): the truth and teaching that there is only One Reality (Atman, Brahman), especially as found in the Upanishads; see also Vedanta

Ahamkara (“I-maker”): the individuation principle, or ego, which must be transcended; cf. asmita; see also buddhi, manas

Ahimsa (“nonharming”): the single most important moral discipline (yama)

Akasha (“ether/space”): the first of the five material elements of which the physical universe is composed; also used to designate “inner” space, that is, the space of consciousness (called cid-akasha)

Amrita (“immortal/immortality”): a designation of the deathless Spirit (atman, purusha); also the nectar of immortality that oozes from the psychoenergetic center at the crown of the head (see sahasrara-cakra) when it is activated and transforms the body into a “divine body” (divya-deha)

Ananda (“bliss”): the condition of utter joy, which is an essential quality of the ultimate Reality (tattva)

Atman (“self”): the transcendental Self, or Spirit, which is eternal and superconscious; our true nature or identity;

Kaivalya (“isolation”): the state of absolute freedom from conditioned existence, as explained in ashta-anga-yoga; in the nondualistic (advaita) traditions of India, this is usually called moksha or mukti (meaning “release” from the fetters of ignorance, or avidya)

Karma Yoga (“Yoga of action”): the liberating path of self-transcending action

Om: the original mantra symbolizing the ultimate Reality, which is prefixed to many mantric utterances

*******
Om.
In this seeking of ananda
I must look not for what I can get,
but ask “What can I give?”
This path of karma yoga purifies
the mind and leads to kaivalya–
and as a snake sheds its skin,
so I shed my habit of self-absorption.
The great paradox here:
as my heart expands outwards
the doorway to the innermost self opens and widens
and the path to Atman is made clear.
As I turn to face the dualistic trickster Ahamkara
and become absorbed in advaita’s all inclusive embrace
I relax and remember that it all begins with akasha–
the space of consciousness where all is born
and all passes away.
This journey is not for the faint of heart.
It is easy to become frustrated, discouraged,
to want to give up.
A strong ahimsa practice is key,
honoring the self that I am,
meeting this self with kindness,
even as I struggle in the bonds
of conditioned existence…
I can remember the amrita
that flows from all of us,
the nectar of immortality,
the gift of our own awakened destiny.

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