Give up defining yourself – to yourself or to others. You won’t die. You will come to life. And don’t be concerned with how others define you. When they define you, they are limiting themselves, so it’s their problem. Whenever you interact with people, don’t be there primarily as a function or a role, but as the field of conscious Presence. You can only lose something that you have, but you cannot lose something that you are.
When we release that striving
for somewhere and something else,
we come home
Karen Maezen Miller
Only one thing made him happy
and now that it was gone
everything made him happy.
Non-doing has nothing to do with being indolent or passive. Quite the contrary. It takes great courage and energy to cultivate non-doing, both in stillness and in activity. Nor is it easy to make a special time for non-doing and to keep at it in the face of everything in our lives which needs to be done.
Jon Kabat Zinn
The tree on the mountain height is its own enemy.
The grease that feeds the light devours itself.
The cinnamon tree is edible: so it is cut down! The lacquer tree is profitable: they maim it.
Every man knows how useful it is to be useful.
No one seems to know How useful it is to be useless.
Thomas Merton, The Way of Chuang Tzu
Once or twice a year the abbot at the San Francisco Zen Center, Tenshin Reb Anderson, comes to speak with the hospice volunteers.
One night he gave a talk that included the best advice I’ve ever heard on caregiving.
He said simply, “Stay close and do nothing.”
That’s how we try to practice at Zen Hospice Project.
We stay close and do nothing. We sit still and listen to the stories.