Everything is a mess, but…

All mystics . . . no matter what their theology, no matter what their religion – are unanimous on one thing: that all is well, all is well.  Though everything is a mess, all is well.  
Strange paradox, to be sure.  But, tragically, most people never get to see that all is well because they are asleep.  They are having a nightmare
Anthony De Mello, Awareness


Don’t look to others

Every person has a vocation to be someone:

but he must understand clearly that in order to fulfill this vocation

he can only be one person: himself.

Thomas Merton

Master Rinzai said ‘Place no head above your own’.

That is, to look outside of ourselves for true peace and satisfaction is hopeless.

Charlotte Joko Beck, Everyday Zen

Life as teacher


Repetition is not failure. Ask the Waves. Ask the Leaves. Ask the Wind

There is no expected pace for inner learning. What we need to learn comes when we need it, no matter how old or young, no matter how many times we have to start over, no matter how many times we have to learn the same lesson. We fall down as many times as we need to, to learn how to fall and get up. We fall in love as many times as we need to, to learn how to hold and be held. We misunderstand the many voices of truth as many times as we need to, to truly hear the choir of diversity that surrounds us. We suffer our pain as often as is necessary for us to learn how to break and how to heal. No one really likes this, of course, but we deal with our dislike in the same way, again and again, until we learn what we need to know about the humility of acceptance.

Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

Love the difficult

What is required of us is that we love the difficult and learn to deal with it.

In the difficult are the friendly forces, the hands that work on us.

Right in the difficult we must have our joys, our happiness, our dreams: there against the depth of this background, they stand out, there for the first time we see how beautiful they are

Rilke, Letters

Underneath the grey clouds

Even on a grey snowy morning like this one…

The mind is luminous, brightly shining,  and this is never absent. However, it is sullied by incoming defilements, coloured by the thoughts and emotions that people put upon it. If you were to see the luminous freedom of the mind, you would cultivate it before anything else, keeping it free from all attachments

Anguttara Nikaya, early Buddhist scripture

Monday morning: a light touch

Whenever we give ourselves to whatever presents itself,  instead of grasping and holding it, we flow with it. We do not arrest the flow of reality, we do not try to possess, we do not try to hold back, but we let go, and everything is alive as long as we let it go. When we cut the flower it is no longer alive; when we take water out of the river it is just a bucketful of water, not the flowing river; when we take air and put it in a balloon it is no longer the wind. Everything that flows and is alive has to be taken and given at the same time – taken with a very, very light touch. Here again we are not playing off give against take, but learning to balance the two in a genuine response to living as well as to dying.

David Stendhal Rast osb