Stop, look, go

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It helps me to review my practice of gratefulness by applying … the rule I learned as a boy for crossing an intersection: “Stop, look, go.” Before going to bed, I glance back over the day and ask myself: Did I stop and allow myself to be surprised? Or did I trudge on in a daze? Was I too busy to wake up to surprise? And once I stopped, did I look for the opportunity of that moment? Or did I allow the circumstances to distract me from the gift within the gift? (This tends to happen when the gift’s wrappings are not attractive.) And finally, was I alert enough to go after it, to avail myself fully of the opportunity offered to me?

My simple recipe for a joyful day is this: Stop and wake up; look and be aware of what you see; then go on with all the alertness you can muster for the opportunity the moment offers. Looking back in the evening, on a day on which I made these three steps over and over, is like looking at an apple orchard heavy with fruit.

David Steindl-Rast, Awake, Aware and Alert

Not fixing

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Often, intimacy arises not from any attempt to take the pain away, but from a living through together; not from a working out, but from a being with. Trust and closeness deepen from holding and being held. I am learning, pain by pain and tension by tension, that after all my strategies fail, the strength of love waits in receiving and negotiating; in accepting each other and not problem solving each other; in listening and affirming each other, not trying to fix those we love.

Mark Nepo

Totally there, no division

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When you forget about the good and the non-good, the worldly life and the spiritual life, and all other ideas from teachings, and permit no thoughts relating to them to arise, and you abandon body and mind — then there is complete freedom. When the mind is like wood or stone, there is nothing to be discriminated.

Pai-chang Huai-hai, Chinese Zen Master 720 – 814

photo pieter lanser