When we are alone on a starlit night, when by chance we see the migrating birds in autumn descending on a grove of junipers to rest and eat; when we see children in a moment when they are really children, when we know love in our own hearts; or when, like the Japanese poet, Basho, we hear an old frog land in a quiet pond with a solitary splash – at such times the awakening, the turning inside out of all values, the “newness,” the emptiness and the purity of vision that make themselves evident, all these provide a glimpse of the cosmic dance.
Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation
A famous Zen poem reads: “The old Pond. A frog jumps in. Plop” This is a wonderful description of bare attention. The poet, Basho, goes directly to the essence of his experience: the pond, frog, plop. We can say that in meditation we are developing “plop mind”. We are stripping away everything that is extraneous to our immediate experience and simply being present with what is happening. This is bare attention: direct, essential, non-interfering.
Joseph Goldstein, Bare Attention
May you have the courage to listen to the voice of desire
that disturbs you when you have settled for something safe.
may you have the wisdom to enter generously into your own unease
to discover the new direction your longing wants you to take.
may the forms of your belonging – in love, creativity, and friendship –
be equal to the grandeur and the call of your soul.
may the one you long for long for you.
may your dreams gradually reveal the destination of your desire.
may a secret providence guide your thought and nurture your feeling.
may your mind inhabit your life with the sureness
with which your body inhabits the world.
may your heart never be haunted by ghost-structures of old damage.
may you come to accept your longing as divine urgency.
may you know the urgency with which God longs for you.
John O Donohue
The Place where you are right now
God circled on a map for you.
Imitate the trees.
Learn to lose in order to recover,
and remember that nothing stays the same for long,
not even pain.
Wake up my heart! The world is passing by;
Life froths and flows by, free for the asking.
Don’t sleep in your body, oblivious,
As the caravan of life goes by your house.
The next time you lose heart and you can’t bear to experience what you’re feeling, you might recall this instruction: change the way you see it and lean in. Instead of blaming our discomfort on outer circumstances or on our own weakness, we can choose to stay present and awake to our experience, not rejecting it, not grasping it, not buying the stories that we relentlessly tell ourselves. This is priceless advice that addresses the true cause of suffering — yours, mine, and that of all beings.
Pema Chodron, Taking the Leap