Breathing in and breathing out

Very similar to the wisdom tradition in Ecclesiastes, a long perspective for these uncertain times:

Everything under heaven is a sacred vessel and cannot be controlled.

Trying to control leads to ruin. Trying to grasp, we lose.

Allow your life to unfold naturally. Know that it too is a vessel of perfection.

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, Tao Te Ching, v 29

What thoughts

As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.

Henry David Thoreau

Staying awake

Zen is really just a reminder to stay alive and to be awake….We tend to daydream all the time, speculating about the future and dwelling on the past. Zen practice is about appreciating your life in this moment. If you are truly aware of five minutes a day, then you are doing pretty well. We are beset by both the future and the past, and there is no reality apart from the here and now.

Peter  Matthiessen, 1927 – 2014. American Writer

Having space for whatever comes

The start of a long weekend here in Ireland. Also the clocks go forward this evening, meaning that the evenings are darker earlier and autumn feels more fully present. A natural time to become less “busy”.

The Arabs used to say,
When a stranger appears at your door,
feed him for three days
before asking who he is,
where he’s come from,
where he’s headed.
That way, he’ll have strength
enough to answer.
Or, by then you’ll be
such good friends
you don’t care.
 
Let’s go back to that.
Rice? Pine nuts?
Here, take the red brocade pillow.
My child will serve water
to your horse.
 
No, I was not busy when you came!
I was not preparing to be busy.
That’s the armor everyone put on
to pretend they had a purpose
in the world.

Naomi Shihab Nye, 1952 – Red Brocade
 

Fundamental facts

It’s not impermanence per se, or even knowing we’re going to die, that is the cause of our suffering, the Buddha taught. Rather, it’s our resistance to the fundamental uncertainty of our situation. Our discomfort arises from all of our effort to put ground under our feet, to realize our dream of constant okayness.

Pema Chödrön