Zen Story: Pay Attention

One day a man approached Ikkyu and asked: “Master, will you please write for me some maxims of the highest wisdom?” Ikkyu took his brush and wrote:“Attention.” “Is that all?” asked the man. Ikkyu then wrote: “Attention, Attention.” “Well,” said the man, “I really don’t see much depth in what you have written.” Then Ikkyu wrote the same word three times: “Attention, Attention, Attention.” Half-angered, the man demanded: “What does that word ‘Attention’ mean, anyway?” Ikkyu gently responded: “Attention means attention.”

“ I will persist until I succeed. Always will I take another step. If that is of no avail I will take another, and yet another. In truth, one step at a time is not too difficult. I know that small attempts, repeated, will complete any undertaking. “

Og Mandino

“ There is a poetaster name Wang

Who laughs at much-flawed verse.”

He says:” This line sounds waspish”

And: “ That line runs on knobby knees.

“ You have no command of versification

But put words willy-nilly on the page.”

I laugh and say: “ The poetry YOU write

Is like a blind man faintly praising the sun?”

Han Shan


“ A poet suffers making poems-

Better to waste your efforts trying to fly!

My whole life, a spirit of useless squawking

Not of remonstrating and not of mocking-

Bare, leafless twigs hang from cold branches,

Cast off as though a tiny ball of spittle.

Step after step you beg

For scrap after scrap of clothing

Those who have relied on poetry for a living

Since ancient times have never gotten fat.

This old man, hungry from poetry, is not bitter,

But your suffering tears fall like rain.”

Meng Chiao

Cultivating time management skills is an essential prerequisite in our over-scheduled, over-active, go go world. When feeling under pressure to undertake so many different things it is essential to plan carefully, allocating time efficiently and effectively if we want to make the maximum impact. It is also appropriate to ‘ cull ‘ busy schedules, letting items go in order to gain more balance in our lives.