The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself. A difficulty is a light. An insurmountable difficulty is a sun. Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams.
Who looks inside, awakens. Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. Alice laughed: "There's no use trying," she said; "one can't believe impossible things. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. If I do not practice one day, I notice it.
If I do not practice a second day, the orchestra notices it. If I do not practice a third day, the world notices it. Instead we are going to be looking deeply into each moment with full acceptance and not trying to force ourselves to be different from how we are right now.
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In your meditation practice and in your daily life, can you be in touch, not only with the changing content and intensity of your thoughts and feelings, but also with the vast unwavering reservoir of awareness itself, residing below the surface of your mind? The lake can teach this, remind us of the lake within ourselves. Through it all, the mountain just sits, experiencing change in each moment, constantly changing, yet always just being itself. It remains still as the seasons flow into one another and as the weather changes moment by moment and day by day, calmness abiding all change… - Jon Kabat-Zinn -.
These few words are enough. If not these words, this breath. If not this breath, this sitting here. This opening to the life we have refused again and again until now. Until now. When flowing water meets with obstacles on its path, a blockage in its journey, it pauses.
It increases in volume and strength, filling up in front of the obstacle and eventually spilling past it. You do not belong to you. You belong to the universe.
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The significance of you will forever remain obscure to you, but you may assume that you are fulfilling your significance if you apply yourself to converting all your experience to the highest advantage to others. You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day - unless you're too busy - then you should sit for an hour. Mindfulness is about being fully awake in our lives. It is about perceiving the exquisite vividness of each moment. We also gain immediate access to our own powerful inner resources for insight, transformation, and healing.
Realize that this very body, with its aches and it pleasures… is exactly what we need to be fully human, fully awake, fully alive. The range of what we think and do Is limited by what we fail to notice And because we fail to notice There is little we can do To change Until we notice How failing to notice Shapes our thoughts and deeds. Laing -. The practice of meditation is not really about establishing inner stillness The moments of stillness are one of meditation's byproducts, not the practice itself.
If the heart wanders or is distracted, bring it back to the point quite gently And even if you did nothing during the whole of your hour but bring your heart back, though it went away every time you brought it back, your hour would be very well employed. Francis de Sales -. Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom. You can have compassion for yourself - which is not self-pity. As simple, and difficult, as that! To listen is to lean in softly With a willingness to be changed By what we hear. If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility. Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue.
Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. First, we all have an inner teacher whose guidance is more reliable than anything we can get from a doctrine, ideology, collective belief system, institution, or leader. Second, we all need other people to invite, amplify, and help us discern the inner teacher's voice. Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.
It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. Cummings -. For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn't understand growth, it would look like complete destruction. This is not an answering machine. This is a questioning machine.
You think you understand one. You think you understand two, because one and one make two. But, you must also understand "and". I am not nearly so interested in what monkey man was derived from as I am in what kind of monkey he is to become. We ourselves cannot put any magic spell on this world.
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The world is its own magic. There is no enlightenment outside of daily life. There's no problem so great it can't be solved. If it can't be solved, it's not a problem, it's reality. Most of the calls we receive and ignore are Our lives are measured out The great breakthroughs in our lives generally happen only as a result of the accumulation of innumerable small steps and minor achievements.
We're called to reach out to someone, to pick up an odd book on the library shelf, to sign up for a class even though we're convinced we don't have the time or money, to go to our desks each day, to turn left instead of right. These are the fire drills for our bigger calls. When I do not know who I am, I serve you. When I know who I am, I am you. Perhaps ultimately, spiritual simply means experiencing wholeness and interconnectedness directly, a seeing that individuality and the totality are interwoven, that nothing is separate or extraneous.
If you see in this way, then everything becomes spiritual in its deepest sense. Doing science is spiritual. So is washing the dishes. Hillel the sage, who was asked to relate the whole of Torah while standing on one foot: "Do not do to others that which is hateful to you. All the rest is commentary. Now go study. The saints are what they are, not because their sanctity makes them admirable to others, but because the gift of sainthood makes it possible for them to admire everybody else.
Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, A cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, This is the best season of your life. Today like every other day We wake up empty and scared. Don't open the door of your study And begin reading. Take down a musical instrument. Let the beauty we love be what we do There are hundreds of way to kneel And kiss the earth.
Tell me what you pay attention to and I will tell you who you are. I dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither; then I awoke. Now I wonder: Am I a man who dreamt of being a butterfly, or am I a butterfly dreaming that I am a man? But if they ask me, "Why were you not Zusya? It is only with the heart that one can see rightly: what is essential is invisible to the eye. When I look inside and see that I am nothing, that's wisdom.
When I look outside and see that I am everything, that's love. Between these two my life turns. We are not troubled by things, but by the opinions we have about things. Stand still. The trees before you and the bushes beside you are not lost. Wherever you are is a place called Here, And you must treat it as a powerful stranger, Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. It answers, I have made this place around you, If you leave it you may come back again saying Here. No two trees are the same to Raven. No two branches the same to Wren. If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you, You are surely lost. The forest knows Where you are. You must let it find you. Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Buckminster Fuller himself was fond of stating that what seems to be happening at the moment is never the full story of what is really going on.
He liked to point out that for the honey bee, it is the honey that is important. But the bee is at the same time nature's vehicle for carrying out cross-pollination of the flowers. Interconnectedness is a fundamental principle of nature. Nothing is isolated. Each event connects with others. I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, most of which never happened - anonymous sometimes attributed to Mark Twain -. We see things not as they are, but as we are. Tomlinson -. The birds have vanished into the sky, and now the last cloud drains away. We sit together, the mountain and me, until only the mountain remains.
Ram Dass tells of a student who went to a Zen master. Not a dead Zen master. As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives. Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant.
We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift. First I was dying to finish high school and start college. And then I was dying to finish college and start working. And then I was dying to marry and have children. And then I was dying for my children to grow old enough for school so I could return to work. And then I was dying to retire. And now, I am dying And suddenly realize I forgot to live. I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.
You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty. In my walks, I would fain return to my senses. What business have I in the woods if I am thinking of something out of the woods?
Our bodies know they belong, It's our minds that make our lives so homeless. Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It's a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity. Could we have no agenda when we walk into a room with another person, not know what to say, not make that person wrong or right?
Could we see, hear, feel other people as they really are? But true communication can happen only in that open space. Holiness comes wrapped in the ordinary. There are burning bushes all around you. Every tree is full of angels. Hidden beauty is waiting in every crumb. Every part of our personality that we do not love will become hostile to us.
If you have embarked on this journey of self-reflection, you may be at a place that everyone, sooner or later, experiences on the spiritual path. You have a choice whether to open or close, whether to hold on or let go, whether to harden or soften, whether to hold your seat or strike out. That choice is presented to you again and again and again. I sought my soul, But my soul I could not see. I sought my God, But my God eluded me.
I sought my brother, And found all three. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.
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Is there anything I can do to make myself Enlightened? As little as you can do to make the sun rise in the morning. Then of what use are the spiritual exercises you prescribe? To make sure you are not asleep when the sun begins to rise. There is nothing you can do to improve your soul. There is nothing you can do to stain your soul. I believe that the only true religion consists of having a good heart.
The further I wake into this life, the more I realize that God is everywhere and the extraordinary is waiting quietly beneath the skin of all that is ordinary. Light is in both the broken bottle and the diamond, and music is in both the flowing violin and the water dripping from the drainage pipe.
Yes, God is under the porch as well as on top of the mountain, and joy is in both the front row and the bleachers, if we are willing to be where we are. We can stop struggling with what occurs and see its true face without calling it the enemy. It helps to remember that our spiritual practice is not about accomplishing anything - not about winning or losing - but about ceasing to struggle and relaxing as it is. That is what we are doing when we sit down to meditate. That attitude spreads into the rest of our lives.
Most of us need to be reminded that we are good, that we are lovable, that we belong. Our relationships have the potential to be a sacred refuge, a place of healing and awakening. With each person we meet, we can learn to look behind the mask and see the one who longs to love and be loved.
Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach, the core of their reality, the person that each one is in the eyes of the Divine. If only they could all see themselves as they really are.
If only we could see each other that way all the time. There would be no more war, no more hatred, no more cruelty, no more greed. Enlightenment does exist. It is possible to awaken. Unbounded freedom and joy, oneness with the Divine, awakening into a state of timeless grace - these experiences are more common than you know, and not far away.
There is one further truth, however: They don't last. Our realizations and awakenings show us the reality of the world, and they bring transformation, but they pass. We all know that after the honeymoon comes the marriage. After the election comes the hard task of governance. In spiritual life it is the same: After the ecstasy comes the laundry. When we think that something is going to bring us pleasure, we really don't know what's going to happen.
When we think something is going to give us misery, we don't know. Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all. We try to do what we think is going to help. But we don't know. We never know if we're going to fall flat or sit up tall. When there's a big disappointment, we don't know if that's the end of the story. It may be just the beginning of a great adventure. Life is like that. We call something bad; we call it good. But really we just don't know.
With spiritual maturity Integrated and personal spiritual practice includes our work, our love, our families, and our creativity. It understands that the personal and the universal are inextricably connected, that the universal truths of spiritual life can come alive only in each particular and personal circumstance.
How we live is our spiritual life. As one wise student remarked, 'If you really want to know about a Zen master, talk to their spouse. Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous to be understood Let me keep my distance, always, from those who think they have the answers. Your access to or use of such Third Party Applications may be governed by additional terms and conditions that are not set forth in this Agreement and that are made available by the particular providers of such Third Party Applications.
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