When we are alone on a starlit night, when by chance we see the migrating birds in autumn descending on a grove of junipers to rest and eat; when we see children in a moment when they are really children, when we know love in our own hearts; or when, like the Japanese poet, Basho, we hear an old frog land in a quiet pond with a solitary splash – at such times the awakening, the turning inside out of all values, the “newness,” the emptiness and the purity of vision that make themselves evident, all these provide a glimpse of the cosmic dance.
Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation
A famous Zen poem reads: “The old Pond. A frog jumps in. Plop” This is a wonderful description of bare attention. The poet, Basho, goes directly to the essence of his experience: the pond, frog, plop. We can say that in meditation we are developing “plop mind”. We are stripping away everything that is extraneous to our immediate experience and simply being present with what is happening. This is bare attention: direct, essential, non-interfering.
Joseph Goldstein, Bare Attention