Birds make great sky-circles of their freedom. How do they learn it?
They fall, and falling, they’re given wings.
When we stop clinging to the known and allow our dreams to become instruments of change, we learn to practice meditation in action at the deepest level. In these moments, we must risk taking a joyful leap with no guarantee of being caught as we fall. In Zen practice, we call it stepping off of the hundred-foot pole — living fully without clinging to anything. Students often speak to me of the great fear that arises even contemplating taking a leap into not-knowing from the cliff top of their old life. All we can rely on, after the joyful leap, is the reassuring discovery of what truly sustains us. I am still in freefall but sometimes I feel the comforting arms of “just this.”
Melissa Myozen Blacker, The Joyful Leap
As soon as a man tries to escape every risk and prefers to experience life only in his head, in the form of ideas and fantasies, as soon as he surrenders to opinions of ‘how it ought to be’ and, in order not to make a false step, imitates others whenever possible, he forfeits the chance of his own independent development. Only if he treads the path bravely and flings himself into life, fearing no struggle and no exertion and fighting shy of no experience, will he mature his personality more fully than the man who is ever trying to keep to the safe side of the road.
Jolande Jacobi, Jungian analyst and author
There is a secret about human love that is commonly overlooked: Receiving it is much more scary and threatening than giving it. How many times in your life have you been unable to let in someone’s love or even pushed it away? Much as we proclaim the wish to be truly loved, we are often afraid of that, and so find it difficult to open to love or let it all the way in.
Most people mistake the habitually formed, neuronally constructed image of themselves for who and what they really are. And this image is almost always expressed in dualistic terms: self and other, pain and pleasure, having and not having, attraction and repulsion. As I’ve been given to understand, these are the most basic terms of survival. Unfortunately, when the mind is colored by this dualistic perspective, every experience — even moments of joy and happiness — is bounded by some sense of limitation. There is always a but lurking in the background. One kind of but is the but of difference. “Oh, my birthday party was wonderful, but I would have liked chocolate cake instead of carrot cake.” Then there is the but of “better.” “I love my new house, but my friend John’s place is bigger and has much better light.” And finally there is the but of fear. “I can’t stand my job, but in this market how will I ever find another one?” Personal experience has taught me that it’s possible to overcome any sense of personal limitation.
Yongey Mingpur Rinpoche, The Joy of Living
Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into the conversation. The kettle is singing even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots have left their arrogant aloofness and seen the good in you at last. All the birds and creatures of the world are unutterably themselves. Everything is waiting for you.
David Whyte, Everything is waiting
Meditation is based on the premise that the natural state of the mind is calm and clear. It provides a way to train our mind to settle into this state. Our first reason for meditating might be that we want some freedom from our agitated mind. We want to discover the basic goodness of our natural mind. To do this requires us first to slow down and experience our mind as it is. In the process, we get to know how our mind works. We see that wherever the mind is abiding — in anger, in desire, in jealousy, or in peace — that is where we also are abiding. We begin to see that we have a choice in the matter: we do not have to act at the whim of every thought. We can abide peacefully. Meditation is a way to slow down and see how our mind works.
Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche