Not identifying with where we are today

We try to maintain a relaxed observing,  and not identify with our thoughts. The heart of mindfulness practice:

To think ‘I am screwed up’, is a value judgement, isn’t it? ‘Screwed up’ makes the ‘I am’. It is identifying with a certain kind of condition, a feeling about oneself personally. If we leave off the ‘screwed up’ bit, we get more to the reality of the moment ― ‘Right now I am . . .’ and there is this sense of being here and now. This is a recognition of conscious experience as an entity. There is an entity but it is not personal any more; it is not ‘I am Ajahn Sumedho’ or ‘I am’ anything at all; it is just this sense of ‘I am’, of presence. Being a conscious entity is ― ‘like this’. Reflect on that and sustain it for a while, that sense of ‘I am’, without adding any personal conditions to it.

In this sense of ‘I am’, the body is ‘like this’. There is consciousness, there is the breath (one can be aware of just the breathing of the body, in-breathing and out-breathing.), there is the ‘sound of silence’, the background. And in this intuitive moment, one observes without adding any kind of personal quality.

Ajahn Sumedho, Try to have a Permanent Emotion.

Versions of ourselves

Most of us are not open most of the time, we pretend that we are open, but mostly you’re running your own dramatic event of which you are the hero or the heroine. Usually that’s what we are doing most of the time.

The youth stops being so important, you’re too tired to maintain the hero that you think you are or the failure that you think you are, whatever the version of yourself that you bought into is — “I’m this failure, I’m not enough, or I’m this” … I’m more than anybody understands.

Those versions of yourself are not very useful.

Leonard Cohen, on what he learnt in his time in a Zen Monastery

From the heart

Many native cultures believe that the heart is the bridge between Father Sky and Mother Earth. For these traditions, the ‘four-chambered heart,’ the source for sustaining emotional and spiritual health, is described as being full, open, clear, and strong. These traditions feel that it is important to check the condition of the four-chambered heart daily, asking: ‘Am I full-hearted, open-hearted, clear-hearted, and strong-hearted?’

Angeles Arrien 1940 – 2014, Cultural anthropologist.

Sunday Quote: Allow

 

Allow your life to unfold naturally.

Just as you breathe in and breathe out, there is a time for being ahead and a time for being behind; a time for being in motion and a time for being at rest; a time for being vigorous and a time for being exhausted; a time for being safe and a time for being in danger.

Lao Tzu

Each ending is a beginning

The black birds feeding in the garden yesterday morning stood out clear against the snow, and they brought to mind this poem.

The snow went on to melt quickly. More lessons from life’s weathers. Transition and change are inevitable parts of the human experience. This time of year, as the days shorten, and the themes of Advent remind us that we are always between here and there, we work at re-imagining and making space, at being at ease in a moment that is always both  an ending and a beginning.

Above the mountains
the geese turn into
the light again

Painting their
black silhouettes
on an open sky.

Sometimes everything
has to be
inscribed across
the heavens

so you can find
the one line
already written
inside you.

Sometimes it takes
a great sky
to find that

first, bright
and indescribable
wedge of freedom
in your own heart.

Sometimes with
the bones of the black
sticks left when the fire
has gone out

someone has written
something new
in the ashes of your life.

You are not leaving.
Even as the light fades quickly now,
you are arriving.

David Whyte, The Journey

Walk in trust

 

A blanket of light snow this morning.

Life is movement, and continually changing in ways which we cannot anticipate:

Your soul alone has the map of your future, 

therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of yourself.

If you do, it will take you where you need to go,

but more important it will teach you a kindness of rhythm in your journey.

John O Donohue, Anam Chara