The poetic secret to mindfulness
Excerpt from the poem Singapore by the late American poet Mary Oliver.

The poetic secret to mindfulness

Mindfulness is the new drug – the cure-all for Generation Therapy’s issues. Burnt out from work? Meditate. Can’t sleep? Meditate. Dealing with emotional scars? Meditate.

The fascination with finding inner peace, and doing so online, has in turn sparked a meeting of very different worlds – poetry, Instagram and mindfulness.

Their pairing might seem unlikely, but poetry, with its pithy insights on the human experience of love and loss, is a natural therapist. And poetic reflections on human nature, circulating online as quote-of-the-day, have found a new audience in millennials craving clarity and self-awareness.

It comes as no surprise then, that writer-educator Ow Yeong Wai Kit and fellow writer Muzakkir Samat will be sharing verses and writings from poets such as Rumi, John Muir and Hanshan at The Art of Being Present. The literary event will look at how poetry can offer insights into mindfulness and man’s connection with the world and nature.

Ow Yeong, quoting the late American poet Mary Oliver, says: “Poetry can connect the conscious mind and the heart.”

The event is part of Deep Cut, a literary series happening once every two months, that explores unconventional intersections in literature. It is co-hosted by publisher Ethos Books and bookseller Littered with Books in Duxton Road.

For Ow Yeong, poetry is about bearing witness to everyday life and this resonates with the practice of mindfulness – of being present in the moment and having a heightened awareness and openness to one’s experiences.

He says: “It’s about recognising, accepting and even embracing the ephemerality and the sublime beauty of everyday life.”

Besides exploring the undercurrents of mindfulness in works of poetry, the event will also include a secular mindfulness practice session. The latter will be conducted by Ow Yeong, a practising Buddhist who met with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama in Dharamasala, India last year.

If you are seeking mindfulness in hectic Singapore, be sure to check out the event and read some poetry.

Details on Deep Cut: The Art of Being Present here.

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