Meditation is a form of training the mind, so that it does not get hooked by all our inner storms, but rather relates to the world, or other people, in a fresh way, just as they are:
Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche used the phrase “first thought, best thought” to refer to that first moment of fresh perception, before the colorful and coloring clouds of judgment and personal interpretation take over. “First thought” is “best thought” because it has not yet got covered over by all our opinions and interpretations, our hopes and fears, our likes and dislikes. It is direct perception of the world as it is.
Dr Jeremy Hayward, First Thought
Some Taoist wisdom for the journey. Real relationship with what is deepest in our hearts is something we know instinctive and survives our poor words and concepts:
I confess that there is nothing to teach:
There is no religion, no science, no writings, which will really show your mind the Way.
Today I speak in this way, tomorrow in another,
but always the Path is beyond words and beyond mind.
Lao Tzu (attributed), The Huahujing
The Buddhists say there are 149 ways to God.
I’m not looking for God, only for myself, and that is far more complicated.
Jeanette Winterson, Sexing the Cherry
Often we run around busy, giving importance to this and that, and yet what is deepest in our heart remains there unchanged, like flowers within.
We have been sold a lifestyle,
when what our soul desired was life.
Oriah Mountain Dreamer
The mountain slopes crawl with lumberjacks,
Axing everything in sight
Yet crimson flowers burn along the stream.
Starting on holidays today…
Our early childhood interactions with our parents establish our own particular balance between being and doing. Society’s dominant model tells us that we need to be constantly doing, getting places, with careers that are “going somewhere”. “Going nowhere” is not a good sign. However, not leaning into the future allows the little present moments to be more rich, and sometimes the more complex things in life require us to hold the present and push down deeper into the unknown. As John Tarrant reminds us, in-between is where we humans always are.
Do not ask me where I am going,
As I travel in this limitless world,
Where every step I take is my home.
As long as we conceive reality in terms of self and time, as a “me” who is someplace and can go some other place, then we are not realizing that going forwards, going backwards, and standing still are all entirely dependent upon the relative truths of self, locality, and time. In terms of physical reality, there is a coming and going. But think about it. Where can we truly go? Do we ever really go anywhere? Wherever we go we are always “here.”
What is the deep listening? ..
Listen, and feel the beauty of your
separation, the unsayable absence.
There’s a moon inside every human being.
Learn to be companions with it.
Give more of your life to this listening. As
brightness is to time, so you are to
the one who talks to the deep ear in
your chest. I should sell my tongue
and buy a thousand ears when that
one steps near and begins to speak.
Not knowing means embracing what is not known rather than fighting with yourself over it. Since the mind always strives to know, not knowing is disorienting in a useful way. Uncertainty and not knowing teach you not to believe the stories your mind feeds you day in and day out. If you allow your own course to be mysterious, then even the hard things can become easy. This is the beginning of awakening.
John Tarrant, Surprises on the Way