A stormy, peaceful night

The weather has been unseasonably warm, even until late. So last evening I just sat out, listening to the wind and looking up at the sky. It was the right way to wind down at the end of the day. It was so lovely sitting there, for a few moments, being grateful for all that had happened that day, listening to the sound of the wind, not saying anything, not even thinking.

We can be so self-involved that we fail to hear the sounds all around us, birdsong during the day, wind chimes in the evening. We do not notice the wonder of a sun rise or sun set. We do not take the time to look up in the darkness and be entertained by by a large slow cloud passing over. We can do this looking over the fields or looking out from a balcony, as long as we take the time to do so. When we do, the moment becomes special, as it did last night.

Slowing down doesn’t necessarily mean meditating. Slowing down means paying more attention to the space in your life – inside and out. It means not running off to the movie theatre or becoming a zombie in front of the TV whenever you have free time. Do something more natural to slow down: Take time to rock in a rocking chair or sit in the garden and look at the lilies.

Dzigar Kongtrul, It’s up to You

The music in our heart

If I was the song that entered your heart
then I was the music of your heart, that you wanted and needed
and thus the wilderness bloomed, with all its
followers; gardeners, lovers, people who weep for the death of rivers

And this was my true task, to be the
music of the body.
Do you understand?
For truly the body needs
a song, a spirit, a soul. And no less, to make this work,
the soul has need of a body,
and I am both of the earth and I am of the inexplicable
beauty of heaven
where I fly so easily, so welcome, yes,
and this is why I have been sent, to teach this to your heart.

Mary Oliver, A Red Bird explains herself

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Sometimes it is just the simple things. A walk on a country lane, the good weather, a field full of wild flowers. A riot of colour. Even King Solomon in all his riches was not dressed as beautifully as they are. Nothing needed to be added to that moment.

The ironic thing is that this beautiful colour came from a field of dandelions. Weeds. Often considered a nuisance, dug up, overlooked, while we value other flowers, other scenes. Our life is sometimes like that. We often ignore what is right in front of us while seeking what we think is our path. We cannot turn to what is right beside us. The problem with this is that our actual life is the only one we have. We search for meaning and happiness in ideas, in other places, in other people, in the future. This perpetuates our preference for relating to life through our discursive minds, our planning minds. Meanwhile, right in front of us, our actual life offers happiness. If we have the eyes to see it.

No goal

Acknowledging what is, with honesty and compassion; continually training in letting thoughts go and in softening when we are hardening— these are steps on the path of awakening. It is how we develop trust in the basic openness and kindness of our being. When we train in letting go of thinking that anything — including ourselves — is either good or bad, we open our minds to practice with forgiveness and humor. And we practice opening to a compassionate space in which good/bad judgments can dissolve. We practice letting go of our idea of a “goal” and letting go of our concept of “progress,” because right there, in that process of letting go, is where our hearts open and soften — over and over again.

Pema Chodron