Joy is linked to holding things lightly

Joy only comes after the self-surrender and sacrifice. I think as a culture, we are afraid of sacrifice. We feel that we must own and accumulate things in order to be complete, and not just material objects but people and relationships as well. It is hard for us to understand that letting go is not a loss, not a  bereavement. Of course, when we lose something that is beautiful or dear to us, there is a shadow that crosses the heart. But we enlighten that shadow with the understanding that the feeling of loss is just the result of assuming that we owned anything in the first place.

Ajahn Amaro

Opportunites to do things differently

The best way out is always through. Robert Frost

When you open yourself to the continually changing, impermanent, dynamic nature of your own being and of reality, you increase your capacity to love and care about other people and your capacity to not be afraid. You’re able to keep your eyes open, your heart open, and your mind open. And you notice when you get caught up in prejudice, bias, and aggression. You develop an enthusiasm for no longer watering negative seeds from now until the day you die. And, you begin to think of your life as offering endless opportunities to start to do things differently.

Pema Chodron, Practicing peace in Time of War

The simple nature of practice

One way to bring the mind into the present – to ground ourselves in basic meditation – is to meditate on the body and the breath. We can do this whenever we get lost or carried away by thoughts or feelings: just remember, I’m still breathing, the body is still here. That will ground you. It will establish mindfulness in the present. Emotionally we can resist this simple practice. Maybe we’re looking for something else. It doesn’t seem important enough just to reflect on the breath, on our posture, or on the feeling of the body as it is; we tend to dismiss them. But I encourage you to have complete faith in this practice of “just the present moment,” just what’s happening with the breath and with the body.

Ajahn Sumedho, The Bearable Irritation of Being

Transforming, not running away

If this job is no good, change jobs, If this wife is no good, change wives. If this town is no good, change towns … The underlying thinking is that the reasons for these troubles is outside of you – in the location, in others, in circumstances …This way of thinking and seeing is an all-too-prevalent trap.  There is no successful escaping from yourself in the long run, only transformation … There can be no resolution leading to growth until the present situation is faced completely and you have opened to it with mindfulness, allowing the roughness of the situation itself to sand down your own rough edges.  In other words, you must be willing to let life itself become our teacher

Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever you go, There you are

Small pockets of air

It’s a cultural requirement that everyone should at least put on a show of maximum stress. But the average day is not a solid wall of activity — it’s more like Swiss cheese. The key to finding a little bit of personal time is to look for the small pockets of air. Remember, we’re talking about only a few minutes at a time. Most people don’t have the luxury of big two-to-four hour blocks of time, but nearly everyone can find one-to-twenty minute blocks. When you identify them in your own life, schedule them. When you come to the appointed hour, drop everything and get settled for meditation. If you’re still having trouble letting go, meditate anyway. It is better to meditate while distracted than not to meditate at all. If you miss a session because you can’t drop what you are doing, no worries: just get yourself back on track at the next appointed time.

David Dillard-Wright, Meditation for Multitaskers