We cannot do everything

It is good to tune into the energy of each season and live in harmony with it.  In autumn we move from the expansive nature of summer to a more internal, introspective focus, setting limits, conserving and harvesting.  A good time to let go of the unrealistic demands we place on ourselves.

There is a Japanese saying: The elbow does not bend outward.

It is a smart saying. The freedom of the elbow, the wonderfulness of the elbow, is precisely because of its limitations. This is our awakened attitude. We are free to be completely human. We are not free to be aliens or cartoon creatures.

We are free to be ourselves, with all of our imperfections and bruises.

Jason Shulman, The Instruction Manual for Receiving God

Never sitting still

People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls.

They will practice yoga and all its exercises, observe a strict regimen of diet, learn theosophy by heart, or mechanically repeat mystic texts from the literature of the whole world – all because they cannot get on with themselves and have not the slightest faith that anything useful could ever come out of their own souls.

Carl Jung

Let go of unworthiness

The sense of unworthiness, it seems, comes out of our being talked out of, trained out of, conditioned out of trusting our natural being. It is the result of being turned away from ourselves, taught to distrust ourselves. We are worthy of letting go of our unworthiness. If we did nothing but practice letting go of unworthiness, much of the stuff we’re working so hard to clear away would have no support system. We would have more room to grow. Consciously we surrender unworthiness as it arises, not entertaining it with the ego’s list of credits. the work which will awaken us is that of becoming keenly aware of unworthiness without judging it. 

Stephen Levine, A Gradual Awakening

Balance

It is not always easy to maintain a tranquil and balanced mind when work pressures mount, or we have a lot of evaluation reports to complete. Resting in awareness  by stepping out of the story line is a good thing to do, even for a few moments every hour.

Anyone can restore some degree of balance

between thinking and awareness

right in this present moment,

which is the only moment that any of us ever has anyway.

Jon Kabat Zinn

An empty mind

To see the empty nature of mind is liberating. It’s like a room full of furniture. Originally the room is empty. The furniture is brought in piece by piece. The person living there knows that anything they brought into the room can also be taken out — chairs, beds, tables, and so on. Similarly anything brought into the mind by prior causes and conditions can be taken out — afflictive emotions… all kinds of suffering. Nothing is stuck. This empty nature is the direct route to freedom. Once we know it, it is only a question of doing the work. As Suzuki Roshi put it, “People who know the state of emptiness will always be able to dissolve their problems by constancy.” Constancy here means continuing with our practice of right effort. Once we know the peace of an empty mind, we only need to keep letting go of the sources of suffering. The field of awareness, like vast space, is intrinsically empty. 

Guy Amstrong, in his new book,  Emptiness, A Practical Guide for Meditators