The other day in meditation, I was gazing at a painting I had made of Jizo. I began lazily to count the brush strokes and realized there were approximately 17 in each painting. The word “haiku” drifted through my mind. 17 syllables for haiku, 17 brush strokes for Jizo.
After meditation, I turned to a canvas I had prepared for a Jizo painting. Continuing to breathe mindfully. I painted a 17 stroke Jizo. Haiku began appearing, as poetry often will, fully formed off the hard-drive of the universe.
Seventeen brush strokes,
safe on watercolor —
ink on my hand.
Delighted, I photographed it and sent it up on to the tangle of the internet. Some people liked it! Later, in my office, another haiku presented itself:
Somewhere a stillborn child is crying
Touch uncracked seeds
Jizo is often used for ceremonies grieving the loss of a child or called upon to protect a child, sick or healthy. I use Jizo as the image of my Higher Self, holding my child-self safely. This vulnerable child-self, Chibi, has been called by dozens of names: “inner child,” “god-shaped hole,” “wounded self.” I have described this part of us as a representation of the basic anxiety we feel at the shock of our birth: out of the warmth of the womb and into the lights and sounds of a shocking new world. It is the safety we feel (or don’t feel) in those early months and years that, in part, define our minds and bodies. My patients have often pleaded for an answer to WHAT DO I DO WITH MY ANXIETY??? …and, thus far, my best answer is to climb into the robes of Jizo and accept that anxiety is a normal part of life. We eventually learn not to hate anxiety but rather bathe it in a kind of radical loving-kindness.
I invite you to visit my meditation page at: www.jizoandchibi/meditation and enter a state of meditation/trance/hypnosis. Then welcome the anxiety, worry or trauma to tea by asking the Center of Your Mind to send you a representation of your anxiety in the form of an animal of some kind. Sit with it. …then, with a deep breath, envision Jizo entering the tea party and providing a sense of calm and safety, regardless of the situation you are fearing.