Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Carpe Diem Tokubetsudesu #69 An Essay About Real Love

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

As you all know this month it's all about "the senses". Hamish takes us by the hand with his wonderful essays about the diversity of senses to shake our senses a little bit or "anata no kankakuwo migaku". Today I love to share an essay about "real love", with you.
Next Sunday it's Valentine's Day, the day of year to celebrate real love. Last Sunday I was reading The Zahir by Paulo Coelho. Part of his novel "triggered" me to write this essay for you. I love to share that part here with you all.

[...] “All men and all women are connected by an energy which many people call love, but which is, in fact, the raw material from which the universe was built. This energy cannot be manipulated, it leads us gently forward, it contains all we have to learn in this life. If we try to make it go in the direction we want, we end up desperate, frustrated, disillusioned, because that energy is free and wild.
We could spend the rest of our life saying that we love such a person or thing, when the truth is that we are merely suffering because, instead of accepting love’s strength, we are trying to diminish it so that it fits the world in which we imagine we live”. [...]
 (Source: The Zahir by Paulo Coelho).

lotus flowers
rising from the depths of the pond
everlasting love

everlasting love
like a river flows onwards
uncertain of its goal

uncertain of its goal
rising from the depths of the pond
lotus flowers

© Chèvrefeuille

Credits: rising from the depths of the pond

Paulo Coelho has written a lot of novels and in almost every novel of him one of the themes is love or real love. What does love mean?

I think love is a strong sense, but each of us will respond on love in a different way. Love is not only something you have for a person, but it can also be for art, literature, nature and as I speak for myself ... haiku, maybe my love for haiku is even more stronger than the love for my wife, children and grandchildren. For sure my love for haiku is very strong, but my love for my wife (and I have a lot of love to give) is everlasting and unconditional.
It's true that haiku and my wife are competing for my attention. My wife has nothing, really nothing with haiku and she says that often, but I love her with whole my heart. She is my "real love".

Maybe you know "Manuscript found in Accra" another wonderful novel by Paulo Coelho. In that novel he says the following:

[...] "Love changes, love heals. Love is just a word until we decide that she can take possession of us.
Love is just a word until someone gives meaning to it". [...]
 (Source: Manuscript found in Accra - Paulo Coelho)

Haiku is love, a love that grabs you by the throat and takes you into an adventure to discover the beauty of our world in all her beautiful details and bring that into the tine form of haiku that shows us a scene, a moment that lasts only one heart beat.

Credits: Shepherd's Purse (nazuna)

For example the beauty of nature in detail this haiku by Basho:

yoku mireba nazuna hana saku kakine kana

looking closely:
a shepherd's purse blossoming
beneath the hedge

© Matsuo Basho (Tr. Barnhill)

And this one inspired on the above beauty by Basho:

shepherd’s purse
trembles in the summer breeze -
bees seek for honey

© Chèvrefeuille

I discovered haiku in the late Eighties and I was caught immediately by its beauty. I fell in love with haiku, addicted to the beauty of nature, addicted to love. Haiku, however, wasn't my first love ... my first love was classical music especially the music by J.S.Bach. I played the organ and studied all the works of Bach. Through his music I learned to appreciate beauty.
Later I discovered painting and photographing. While I was busy learning to become a better painter and photographer I ran into haiku ... Haiku at that time gave me the opportunity to train my writing skills, to say more with less words.

What has "real love" to do with haiku? Let me tell you something about love in haiku.
As you all know tanka is more the poetry for love, but in my opinion, haiku is also about love. Love in haiku is universal and that means "haiku transcends everything even the love between people. Haiku is love and we can find that idea in the wonderful spiritual roots of haiku, Zen Buddhism.

Zen is love (real love) of the universe. Without this love, joy is uncertain, pain is inevitable, all is meaningless. Othello says:

[...] "When I love thee not, chaos is come again". [...]

The love must be complete, - not that it aims at the universe as a whole, but that the personality as a whole is to be concentrated on the thing; the thing is to be suffused with the personality. Then we have the state, described abstractly by Dr. Suzuki in the following words:

[...] "When an object is picked up, everything else, One and All, comes along with it, not in the way of suggestion, but all-inclusively, in the sense that the object is complete in itself". [...]

The relation of love to poetry may be easy to make out, but that to Zen is much more difficult. Look at it like this ... If we are without self-love, greediness, without desire of gain, of happiness, of life itself, all this energy must overflow somewhere. It overflows into all things, including oneself, so that now no actions are selfish or unselfish, good or bad, but are like the sunshine or the rain, but with mind instead of mindlessness.
We say that we see the beauty of the fine drops of rain, the glittering of the leaves in the sun, the stars in their calm, - but what we really see is the mind of man, our own mind, in all these things. Through our activity and cooperation, these inanimate things acquire mind and affection. The waves drown the shipwrecked sailor regretfully, the sun scorches the weary traveler with remorse.

This kind of love, then, is not the means, the first step, but the end and aim and consummation of our pilgrimage here (on this world). It is expressed in quite other ways than altruism and self-denial. It is effortless and continuous, unconscious and nameless, but we feel it and know it ourselves and others as the health of the soul.

Mountain Persimmons
mountain persimmons;
the mother is eating
the astringent parts

© Issa (Tr. R.H.Blyth)

Zen cannot change a man's inborn character. Nothing can do this. It cannot turn a cold, selfish heart into a warm loving one. What it does do is to change the direction of the inner energy, to bring out all the latent power, to show things to be interesting that were not noticed at all (as in the above haiku by Basho), or thought to be meaningless or repulsive.

shutting the great temple gate,
creak! it goes:
an autumn evening

© Shiki (Tr. R.H.Blyth)

it walked with me
as I walked,
the scarecrow in the distance

© San-in (Tr. R.H.Blyth)

Just as Zen is love, haiku may be called love poems. Haiku are an expression of the joy of our reunion with things from we have been parted by self-consciousness, so strong and tender in the sexual act, more diffused, yet equally powerful and delicate in our poetic moments.

Credits: Joy

As you all (maybe) know I have written (and published) two novels. Both were successful and in both novels I used my ideas about love. In my second novel ("Never to Return" or "Nooit meer Terug".) I used my ideas about love for the spiritual teachings of the main character. I love to share a quote from that novel here.

[...] "Unconditional love is neverending. Unconditional love is bound together with the Collective Consciousness which binds together every living creature with the Universe. Unconditional love makes us one." [...]

We are all haiku poets and the love for haiku makes us one.

"Real Love" is in my opinion the only base for haiku. Without real love, for all and everything, creating haiku is not possible.
As I discovered haiku I fell in love ... in love with that universal beauty that binds all artists (poets, musicians, painters, sculptors and more) together.

a little verse
lighted a fire in my heart

addicted to love

© Chèvrefeuille

Have a wonderful loving Valentine's Day !

The goal of this Tokubetsudesu epsiode is to sit back, meditate and contemplate on love and let your muse inspire you to create a haiku full of love and passion.

This Tokubetsudesu episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until February 12th at noon (CET). I will (try to) publish our next episode, Melody, later on.


  1. This is a wonderful love post Kristjaan! I inspire me to a lot of thoughts about what we call "love" and how I think it has changed during times ... It will be a hard challenge for me to compose haiku few lines :)

  2. Goodness me - what a post to wake up to on a chilly dark February morning!!!
    Thank you.

  3. A complete and deep essay with wonderful haiku. A great post, reaching in and really discussing love, illustrated with the haiku. Was a pleasure to read.

  4. What a wonderful and inspirational post. Your heart is on fire Kristjaan :)

  5. My heart is deeply touched by your words of love. Love is the force that guides the planets. Thank you!