There is one technique which is known as adopting the role of the witness – and holding onto that role – ultimately, to the exclusion of all roles. The witness is not evaluative. It does not judge your actions. It merely notes them. This point is important. Most of the time the inner voices of most people are continually evaluative. “I’m good for doing this” or “I’m bad for doing that.” You must make that evaluative role an object of contemplation as well. Keep in mind that the witness does not care whether you become enlightened or not. It merely notes how it all is.
Ram Daas, Be Here Now
When we seek happiness through accumulation, either outside of ourselves – from other people, relationships, or material goods – or from our own self-development, we are missing the essential point. In either case we are trying to find completion. But according to Buddhism, such a strategy is doomed.
Completion comes not from adding another piece to ourselves but from surrendering our ideas of perfection.
Mark Epstein, Going to Pieces without Falling Apart: A Buddhist Perspective on Wholeness
There are people who are unhappy regardless of the work they do
or the relationship they are in,
and yet they continuously fool themselves into thinking
that an external makeover will affect them internally.
Tal Ben-Shahar, Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment
Reality met on its own terms demands absolute presence, and absolute giving away, an ability to live on equal terms with the fleeting and the eternal, the hardly touchable and the fully possible, a full bodily appearance and disappearance, a rested giving in and giving up;another identity braver, more generous and more here than the one looking hungrily for the easy, unearned answer.
A lovely image of joy in the midst of the changing currents of life
On a branch
a cricket, singing.
Issa, Japanese Buddhist poet, 1763-1827
One of the sad things today is that so many people are frightened by the wonder of their own presence. They are dying to tie themselves into a system, a role, or to an image, or to a predetermined identity that other people have actually settled on for them. This identity may be totally at variance with the wild energies that are rising inside in their souls. Many of us get very afraid and we eventually compromise. We settle for something that is safe, rather than engaging the danger and the wildness that is in our own hearts. A man in Connemara said one time to a friend of mine, ‘Beidh muid sínte siar cúig mhilliúin blain déag faoin chré’ – “We’ll be lying down in the earth for about fifteen million years” – and we have a short exposure. I feel that when you recognize that death is on its way, it is a great liberation, because it means that you can in some way feel the call to live everything that is within you. One of the greatest sins is the unlived life, not to allow yourself to become chief executive of the project you call your life, to have a reverence always for the immensity that is inside of you.
John O Donohue, Walking in Wonder: Eternal Wisdom for a Modern World