Not always running

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There was a man who was so disturbed by the sight of his own shadow and so displeased with his own footsteps that he determined to get rid of both. The method he hit upon was to run away from them. So he got up and ran. But every time he put his foot down there was another step, which his shadow kept up with him without the slightest difficulty.

He attributed his failure to the fact that he was not running fast enough. So he ran faster and faster, without stopping, until he finally dropped dead.

He failed to realize that if he merely stepped into the shade, his shadow would vanish, and if he sat down and stayed still, there would be no more footsteps.

Thomas Merton, The Way of Chuang Tzu


As they are

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The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them.

Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island

photo paul stocker

Trying to simply observe


The mind is like a mirror that reflects everything. Like a mirror, the mind is not damaged by anything it is reflecting. A mirror can reflect the ugliest, nastiest thing in the whole world and still remains untarnished, even though the reflection is terrible. The mind is like that mirror: the reflections can be very impure or ugly or vicious, or they can be very beautiful. If we try to punish the mirror, if we destroy or crack the mirror, we go crazy – then we are really stuck. But, if we are willing to, we can recognize that the reflection in the mirror simply is as it is. This recognition is a skilful way of dealing with thoughts and feelings that may be very unpleasant for us.

Ajahn Sumedho

…including weather within and without

snow Feb 1 2012

We had a wild, wet and windy Sunday, and snow early this morning,  and we see the reports of  very cold weather in the US and in Eastern Europe. Always a useful way to practice – we see that we like to label our experience (“bad weather today”) and it also prompts us to reflect on how we are working with the changing conditions in our inner lives and in each day.  as this quote from Toni Parker reminds us:

We call it “weather” but what is it really? Wind. Rain. Clouds slowly parting. Not the words spoken about it, but just this darkening, blowing, pounding, wetting, and then lightening up, blue sky appearing amidst darkness, and sunshine sparkling on wet grasses and leaves. In a little while there will be frost, snow and ice-covers. And then warming again, melting, oozing water everywhere. On an early spring day the dirt road sparkles with streams of wet silver. So — what is “weather” other than this incessant change of earthly conditions and all the human thoughts, feelings, and undertakings influenced by it: Like and dislike. Depression and elation.  Creation and destruction? No entity “weather” to be found except in thinking and talking about it.

Now — is there such an entity as “me,” “I,” “myself?” Or is it just like the “weather” — an ongoing, ever-changing stream of ideas, images, memories, projections, likes and dislikes, creations and destructions, which thought keeps calling “I,” “me,” “Toni,” and thereby solidifying what is evanescent? What am I really, truly, and what do I think and believe I am? Are we interested in exploring this amazing affair of “myself” from moment to moment?

Toni Parker, The Wonder of Presence and the Way of Meditative Inquiry