You’re familiar with the benefits of a daily mindfulness practice.
But keeping your mind on the present moment is difficult without a more specific focus.
Here’s where mindfulness poetry comes in.
You don’t have to memorize anything.
Just read meditative poems like the ones in this post, and use each one as a prompt to direct your thoughts.
We’ve chosen a variety of mindful poems to help you identify the styles and topics you find most helpful.
Mindful Poetry: 11 Mindfulness Poems to Inspire You
The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For the time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Be Empty of Worrying by Rumi
Be empty of worrying
Think of who created thought
Why do you stay in prison
When the door is so wide open
Move outside the tangle of fear thinking
Live in silence
Flow down and down
Into always widening
Rings of being
The Sparrow by Paul Laurence Dunbar
A little bird, with plumage brown,
Beside my window flutters down,
A moment chirps its little strain,
Then taps upon my window-pane,
And chirps again, and hops along,
To call my notice to its song;
But I work on, nor heed its lay,
Till, in neglect, it flies away.
Don’t Hesitate by Mary Oliver
If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy,
don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty
of lives and whole towns destroyed or about
to be. We are not wise, and not very often
kind. And much can never be redeemed.
Still, life has some possibility left. Perhaps this
is its way of fighting back, that sometimes
something happens better than all the riches
or power in the world. It could be anything,
but very likely you notice it in the instant
when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the
case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid
of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.
Living in the Now by Vanessa Hughes
What’s gone has made you what you are
So don’t fear what’s ahead
Put trust in what will be, will be
And choose to live instead
Don’t live in the now worrying
What may or may not be
Take this moment in your time
And live it totally
There’s no time like the present
Breathe deep and feel alive
Living in the here and now
Will help you rise and thrive
Now is all there ever is
It’s the only time that’s real
Let the future take its course
And leave the past to heal
The Guest House by Rumi
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 honorably.
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.
Enough by David Whyte
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
Dust of Snow by Robert Frost
The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.
Each Moment is Precious by Patricia A. Fleming
Live in the moment,
Just take it all in.
Pay attention to everything,
Right there and right then.
Don’t let your mind wander
To what’s coming next.
Cherish this moment
And give it your best.
Don’t let tomorrow
Make you rush through today,
Or too many great moments
Will just go to waste.
And the person you’re with,
In that moment you share,
Give them all of your focus;
Be totally there.
Laugh till it hurts,
Let the tears drop.
Fill up each moment
With all that you’ve got.
Don’t miss the details;
The lesson is there.
Don’t get complacent;
Stay sharp and aware.
It can take but a moment
To change your life’s path.
And once it ticks by,
There is no going back.
In just 60 seconds,
You may make a new friend.
Find your true love,
Or see a life start or end.
You become who you are
In those moments you live.
And the growth’s not in taking
But in how much you give.
Life is just moments,
So precious and few.
Whether valued or squandered,
It’s all up to you!
Awareness by John Austen
her gaze is so constant,
our every move
with such affection,
a ceaseless vigil
unrelenting in her
There is endless room in
the heart of this lover,
infinite space for whatever
foolishness we may
toss her way.
But she is also
crafty, this one-
a thief who will steal away
everything we ever cherished,
all our beliefs,
all our ideas,
all our philosophies,
until nothing is left
but her shimmering
this simple love
for what is.
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My Symphony by William Henry Channing
To live content with small means;
to seek elegance rather than luxury,
and refinement rather than fashion,
to be worthy, not respectable,
and wealthy, not rich;
to study hard, think quietly,
talk gently, act frankly,
to listen to stars and birds,
to babes and sages,
with open heart,
to bear all cheerfully,
to all bravely await occasions,
In a word, to let the spiritual unbidden
and unconscious grow up through the common.
This is to be my symphony.
Which of these mindful poems spoke to you?
Now that you’ve had a chance to look through the meditation poetry above, which ones appealed to you most?
You probably already have some preferred focal points — trees, flowers, the arrangement of items on a favorite shelf, etc. Your choice of mindfulness poetry is likely to reflect that. That said, some of your favorites might surprise you.
If you enjoy listening to music with lyrics while meditating, poetry is similar. And if another’s verses don’t offer the inspiration you’re looking for, try writing your own.