Trusting where we are

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To be nobody-but-yourself

— in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else —

means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.

e.e. cummings, A Poet’s Advice

photo rennett stowe

Present in the midst of change

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How Han-shan Te-Ching (1546 – 1623) came to understand to stay fully present in the moment, not in a perpetual movement of becoming:

When Hanshan got up from his seat and walked around, he did not see things in motion. When he opened the window blind, suddenly a wind blew the trees in the yard, and the leaves flew all over the sky. However, he did not see any signs of motion. He understood what the text spoke of as, “Streams and rivers run into the ocean and yet there is no flowing.”


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“Is my life meaningful?” When I ask the question this way the perspective is very different. Now my happiness will no longer depend upon my never getting sick, or upon my not getting lonely, or upon my never being misunderstood, or upon my never making wrong choices, or on somehow being exempt from death’s shadow. Life can be frustrating and still be very meaningful. We can be lonely, sick, sorrowful about wrong choices, over-worked and unappreciated, staring old age and death in the face and still experience deep meaning. Happiness will be a by-product of that.

Are my symbols working?  Does my life have a meaning?

The question about happiness comes after that question.

Ron Rolheiser, Happiness and Meaning


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There is a simple question that helps me to practice the second step of gratitude: “What’s my opportunity here?” You will find that most of the time, the opportunity that a given moment offers you is an opportunity to enjoy – to enjoy sounds, smells, tastes, texture, colors, and, with still deeper joy, friendliness, kindness, patience, faithfulness, honesty, and all those gifts that soften the soil of our heart like warm spring rain. The more we practice awareness of the countless opportunities to simply enjoy, the easier it becomes to recognize difficult or painful experiences as opportunities, as gifts.

David Steindl-Rast, Awake, Aware and Alert

photo alan murray-rust