Impermanence

Central to the enlargement of consciousness is the acknowledgement that the constancy of life is its impermanence. Indeed, transiency is the expression of the life force itself. As Dylan Thomas expressed the paradox, ‘The force that through the green fuse drives the flower is my destroyer.’ The same energy that ignites natural energy, like the fuse of a stick of dynamite, feeds on itself and is consumed. Such evanescence is itself life. The word we have for that which is unchanging is death. The embrace of life, thus, requires the embrace of that energy which feeds on itself and is consumed. Not to change is contrary to the life force, is death.

James Hollis, Swamplands of the Soul: New Life in Dismal Places

Allow things to blow through

More wise words from the Thai Forest tradition for when times are uncertain

When you are in an emotionally rocky state, the most skilful response may simply be to receive what you are feeling at the present moment with some clarity and sympathy; to sit quietly and allow things to blow through. Whatever the state, the initial response has to be –  stay present and cultivate spaciousness. The way that cause and effect work is that even five minutes of not acting on or suppressing the present mind-state results in some kind of ease of diminution of pressure. Then we begin to recognize a natural sanity, a seed of Awakening that’s there when the doing stops. It’s not far off. But we do need to get in touch with and encourage it. 

Ajahn Sucitto, Kamma and the End of Kamma

How it is

Of course we can always imagine more perfect conditions, how it should be ideally, how everyone should behave. But it is not our task to create an ideal. It’s our task to see how it is, and to learn from the world as it is. For the awakening of the heart, conditions are always good enough.

Ajahn Sumedho

The enigma of life

Ici la vie continue égale et monotone en surface, pleine d’éclairs, de sommets et de désepérance, dans les profondeurs. Nous sommes arrivés maintenant á un stade de vie si riche en apprehensions nouvelles intransmissibles aux autres âges de la vie – on se sent rempli á la fois de tant de douceur et de tant de désespoir – l’énigme de cette vie grandit, grandit, vous submerge et vous écrase, puis tout á coup en une lueur suprême on prend conscience due “sacré.”

Here life goes on, even and monotonous on the surface, full of lightning, of summits and of despair, in its depths. We have now arrived at a stage in life so rich in new perceptions that cannot be transmitted to those at another stage – one feels at the same time full of so much gentleness and so much despair – the enigma of this life grows, grows, drowns one and crushes one, then all of a sudden in a supreme moment of light one becomes aware of the sacred.

Letter written from Eugénie to May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude

Dropping the storyline

What does it look like to drop the story line of “me”? There was a baseball movie out recently in which a star pitcher is facing a star batter at a crucial point in the game. The pitcher is having a hard time focusing. He’s thinking about what would happen if the batter got a hit. He’s distracted by the fifty thousand fans shouting and waving. Then he says to himself, “Clear the mechanism.” All of a sudden the sound level in the movie drops into silence. Even though the fans are still moving and waving, you no longer hear them, reflecting what the pitcher is experiencing as he disengages from his own emotional noise. Then he says to himself, “Now just throw the ball to the catcher, like you’ve done a million times before.” In “clearing the mechanism” he was turning away from his preoccupation with the mental noise of “me,” from his fear-based thoughts about imagined results, about himself as a star, as someone special. Then he could enter the direct experience of simply throwing the ball.

Ezra Bayda, How to Live a Genuine Life