The wise person man, perceiving wealth and craving,
Knows them to be empty illusion;
Food and clothes sustain our body and life;
But I advise you to learn
Being as is.
When it’s time, I leave my hermitage and go,
And there’s nothing to be left behind
Layman Pang, 740 – 808, Chinese Chan layman
In my life-long impatience, how much I have missed. Last night, washing the dishes, I really looked at my iron frying pan in the dishwater. The light made visible for a moment a tiny rainbow — a light through water revealing all the colors of life. It is so easy to miss the tiny symbols. Finding them is quite different from the business of trying to hatch up big symbolic experiences. It is recognition, not pursuit, of meaning — recognition of the sacramental, of the intersection of the two worlds, breaking through unsought because one is attending.
Helen Luke, 1904 – 1995, Jungian Analyst and writer
Your mind is your greatest treasure. We become so taken up with the world, with having and doing more and more that we come to ignore who we are and forget what we see the world with.
The most powerful way to change your life is to change your mind.
John O’Donohue, The Art of Developing a Beautiful Mind
To meet everyone and everything through stillness instead of mental noise
is the greatest gift you can offer to the universe.
When from our better selves we have too long
Been parted by the hurry world, and droop,
Sick of its business, of its pleasures tired,
How gracious, how benign, is Solitude
Wordsworth, The Prelude
Zen is really just a reminder to stay alive and be awake. We tend to daydream all the time, speculating and dwelling on the past. Zen practice is about appreciating your life in this moment. If you are truly aware five minutes a day, you’re doing pretty well. We are beset by both the future and the past, but there is no reality apart from the here and the now. So this is a very concise teaching about zazen [sitting meditation], just a reminder to stay alive and be awake. Notice how much you tend to dwell in the past and speculate about the future; it will help you to practice more in this realm of appreciating your life in this moment.
Zenkei Blanche Hartman, Seeds of A Boundless Life