January ends with stormy winds and heavy rain. A lot of storm systems passing in from the Atlantic every few days, disturbing the calm and confusing the early signs of growth. Our instinct is to prefer things to be the same, as if that was the default pattern. However, one of the fundamental marks of existence is that things change, mostly in ways that we cannot expect.
Things are always in transition if we could only realize it. Nothing ever sums itself up in the way that we would like to dream about. The spiritual journey involves going beyond hope and fear, stepping into unknown territory, continually moving forward. The most important aspect of being on the spiritual path may be to just keep moving.
being willing for things to be
as they are
Charlotte Joko Beck, Nothing Special
Our lives suffer from a lack of meaning that disguises itself as consumerism and a host of other addictions. Having lost our spiritual grounding […] we experience our groundlessness as an unbearable lightness of being. The tragic dialectic between security and freedom reasserts itself: having attained some measure of self-determination and confronted the lack at its core, we now crave the grounding that would connect our own aspirations with something greater than ourselves.
David Loy, A Buddhist History of the West
If one lets go of this very mind,
bound by its knots,
there is no doubt:
it will be free.
Saraha, 8th century CE
We try to fill up the hole at our core — the sense that something is missing, that I am not real enough— by becoming more wealthy, famous, attractive . . . more powerful. Power — the ability to impose my stories — offers the promise of reality. How could I be unreal, if I’m the one who decides what happens?
David Loy, The World is Full of Stories
The world is made of stories.
Good stories are hard to come by,
and a good story you can honestly call your own is an incredible gift.
These stories are part of a bigger story that connects us all.
Gary Snyder, Pulitzer Prize poet and environmental writer