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Warm sun of springtime
The bright snow is melting fast:
Puddles on the floor.
Another external element that I have found very helpful in meditation is the sight of the head monk stalking around the zendo with his keisaku. His mere presence is a powerful inducement to maintaining alertness.
In the aforementioned zendo, the head monk confined his activities to gently poking those who seemed about to nod off, which I thought was a pity. I often wished he would give me a good whack between the shoulder blades - had he done so, I am certain I would be an enlightened being today.