May We All Have Beautiful Continuations

hold me while i'm warm
hold me while i’m warm

You are like a candle. Imagine you are sending light out all around you. All your words, thoughts and actions are going in many directions. If you say something kind, your kind words go in many directions, and you yourself go with them. We are …transforming and continuing in a different form at every moment. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

With summer’s heat it was wonderful to experience impermanence this week in the form of clouds & rain. Cool, pleasant temperatures along with unexpected moisture and gorgeous sunrise colors; a blissful moment. If you asked the cloud, “where did you come from?”, the cloud would wisely say, “I did not come from anywhere. When conditions are sufficient, I manifest. And when conditions are no longer sufficient, I stop manifesting.” The cloud is a wise teacher who can help us understand the nature of non-self and interconnectedness. The cloud is aware that it cannot truly die. It turns into rain, or perhaps hail or snow. Knowing that it does not become nothing, the cloud is happy recognizing its continuation is in a new form. On and on throughout time, sun, vaporizes oceans, lakes and other bodies of water. Temperatures, pressures, winds and geography provide conditions for clouds to appear. And we humans have our conditions and continuations, our selves and non-selves just as does all of nature.

cloudy conditions
cloudy conditions

During this summer’s 21 day retreat in Plum Village, France, Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh spoke on the theme, “what happens when we die.” During which he asked poets and musicians to share their inspiration on these deep teachings of fearlessness and interbeing. After much meditation, reflection and polishing, my humble reponse is below.  I hope you like this tune entitled, Beautiful Continuations (lyrics below). Gratitude to Jo-ann and Charlie for your sweet violin and arrangement.

Unborn, & undying, I am
flowers and mankind the same.
We’re made of seed, sun, soil and rain.
So simple that even a young child can understand;
conditions are just right
now here I am.

Gratefully swimming this river of time.
Aware I’m more than this body
a liberating insight.

Please hold this hand, my friend
while still warm to the touch.
Remember I loved you so much.

In the west sun sets
while in the east it dawns.
Night and day play hide and seek
dancing on & on.

May footsteps of what I say and do
tread light as bygones
& May my karma be a beautiful continuation.

May birds always sing
May air & water always be clean
& May we all have beautiful continuations.

© 7/2014 D. M. Nelson

images from the music video, below

35 Replies to “May We All Have Beautiful Continuations”

  1. what a touching expression. i brush tears from my eyes, hearing the voice of wise youth singing.
    breathing smiles, meredith.

  2. This is so beautiful! I love the analogy of the clouds and how they exist anyway in different forms. I believe this to be true for our spirits. Your images are so incredible! Thank you for this post. 🙂

  3. I’ve always sensed there was a reason I was drawn to your blog, David. This post helped me understand. Beatuiful continuations… so simply yet beautifully expressed. Thank you for sharing your words and a glimpse into what had to be a significant retreat experience.

    1. thanks Eric for your kind words!
      i’ve found peace with these teachings on no birth, no death for many years.
      but the recent retreat helped me appreciate the truth more for myself 🙂

  4. Thanks much for your song! Very well done and interesting indeed! The following is a possibly relevant poem to share by one of my favorite poets… E.E.Cummings. I strongly suspect that, throughout life, he was often dying to the limitations of mere symbolic-stagnant thinking; thank goodness, he wasn’t just another of the dead-from-the-heart-up, conformist bureaucrats.

    dying is fine)but Death


    wouldn’t like

    Death if Death

    when(instead of stopping to think)you

    begin to feel of it,dying
    ‘s miraculous

    cause dying is

    perfectly natural;perfectly
    it mildly lively(but

    is strictly
    & artificial &
    evil & legal)

    we thank thee
    god almighty for dying
    (forgive us,o life!the sin of Death

  5. I unfortunately missed Plum Village this summer retreat, but I am thankful to have the opportunity to go to the German retreat when Thich Nhat Hahn comes…I breathe in the humble continuation of your song. Thank you David for the gentle reminder that simplicity matters….the simplicity of being present for our life everyday. Namaste

    1. thank you for your kind words islandrain!
      how wonderful to attend the German retreat with Thay! i was at the eiab a few years ago, is it there?
      i’m happy you enjoy my song 🙂
      may your moment
      be happy.

      1. I am really glad to be able to go there with my kids. We attended Plum Village for the first time last year. I had read so many of Thay’s quotes and always felt a simple conviction. I completed the 5 mindfulness trainings there and truly wish there was a sangha in Vienna. For now, I practice alone. I do believe that the German retreat is at eiab. It will be not far from Cologne…near Schaldern. Live the breathe. 🙂

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