The next time you encounter fear, consider yourself lucky. This is where the courage comes in. Usually we think that brave people have no fear. The truth is that they are intimate with fear. When I was first married, my husband said I was one of the bravest people he knew. When I asked him why, he said because I was a complete coward but went ahead and did things anyhow.
What lies behind us and what lies before us
are tiny matters compared to what lies within us
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Mindfulness is not thinking about things. (It is not “meditating on” some topic, as people often say.) It is a non-discursive observation of our life in all its aspects. In those moments when thinking predominates, mindfulness is the clear and silent awareness that we are thinking. I found it helpful and relaxing when someone said, “For the purpose of meditation, nothing is particularly worth thinking about.” Thoughts can come and go as they wish, and the meditator does not need to become involved with them. We are not interested in engaging in the content of our thoughts; mindfulness of thinking is simply recognizing we are thinking.
Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all. We try to do what we think is going to help. But we don’t know. We never know if we’re going to fall flat or sit up tall. When there’s a big disappointment, we don’t know if that’s the end of the story. It may be just the beginning of a great adventure. Life is like that. We don’t know anything. We call something bad; we call it good. But really we just don’t know.
No Coming. No Going.
Everything is pretending to be born and to die.
That is a lie
An interesting quote from Thich Nhat Hahn. I am not sure that I completely get it but I think it means that – at one level – nothing really comes or goes, nothing is born or dies, but rather everything simply transforms into something else. How can I apply that to my life? Well, when I get fixed on something as it currently is and desperately want to hold on to that, I suffer. But if I am able to see that everything is in a process of transforming, and thus not ending, then I do not need to hold on and suffering does not arise. If I realize how limiting it is when I hold fixed stories about myself or my life, and instead move toward a full openness and acceptance of what may emerge, then I can more easily deal with the inevitable changes which each moment brings.
My own experience is that the less you have in the way of expectations, the more effectively your efforts will bring fruits and beneficial results. Here in the West we are very idealistic, we create a fixed image – usually unconsciously – of how we want to be or what we want to change. Then through having that fixed idea, we miss the actual changes that we need to make. While our attention is riveted to the horizon, we miss where we are putting our feet. The more we can put aside any particular expectations or agendas, and the more we can engage wholeheartedly in the particular work or practices we are doing, then the better off we are in the long run.