We have no reason to mistrust our world, for it is not against us. Has it terrors, they are our terrors; has it abysses, those abysses belong to us; are dangers at hand, we must try to love them. And if we could only arrange our life according to that principle which counsels us that we must always hold to the difficult, then that which now seems to us the most alien will become what we most trust and find most faithful. How should we be able to forget those ancient myths that are at the beginning of all peoples, the myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into princesses; perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us.
Rainer Maria Rilke
When you ride in a boat and watch the shore, you might assume that the shore is moving. But when you keep your eyes closely on the boat, you can see that the boat moves. Similarly, if you examine many things with a confused body and mind, you might suppose that your mind and nature are fixed. However, if you practice intimately and return to where you are, it will be clear that there is nothing at all that has an unchanging self.
If you would look at a flower, any thought about that flower prevents you from looking at it. The words the rose, the violet, it is this flower, that flower, it is that species, keep you from observing. To look there must be no interference of the word, which is the objectifying of thought. There must be freedom from the word, and to look there must be silence; otherwise you can’t look. If you look at your wife or husband, all the memories that you have had, either of pleasure or pain, interfere with looking. It is only when you look without the image that there is a relationship.
Photo Daniel J Layton
I have not posted thoughts from Pema Chodron for a while, but was reminded by a close friend as to how inspiring her words can be. She is perhaps the most quoted person on this blog, so here is another idea from her:
Some of us can accept others right where they are a lot more easily than we can accept ourselves. We feel that compassion is reserved for someone else, and it never occurs to us to feel it for ourselves. My experience is, that by practicing without “shoulds”, we gradually discover our wakefulness and our confidence. Gradually, without any agenda except to be honest and kind, we assume responsibility for being here in this unpredictable world, in this unique moment, in this precious human body.
Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart
photo SuSanA secretariat
I went for a walk yesterday, but being Ireland, it started to rain and I had to abandon my plans. The day before had been so warm and bright…At times like this we can get irritated, as what “should” have happened gets disrupted. We rush on to the next moment, not noticing what is actually in front of us. We want reality to correspond to what we think should be going on, and do not go slow enough to notice what actually is:
Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.
Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.
Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.
Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.
Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world.
Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time.
John O’Donohue, A Blessing for One who is Exhausted.
photo adrian benko