In this world of onrushing events the act of meditation — even just a “one-breath” meditation — straightening the back, clearing the mind for a moment — is a refreshing island in the stream… Meditation is not just a rest or retreat from the turmoil of the stream or the impurity of the world. It is a way of being the stream, so that one can be at home in both the white water and the eddies. Meditation may take one out of the world, but it also puts one totally into it.
Gary Snyder, Just One Breath, The Practice of Poetry and Meditation
In times of deep darkness, we not only need light — we need to be light for one another. That’s a message we must take to heart as we find ourselves lost once again in the all-too-familiar darkness of America’s culture of violence. Who better to deliver that message than Mary Oliver, in a powerful poem that re-tells the story of the Buddha’s last words. Before he died, she tells us, “He looked into the faces of that frightened crowd” and said, “Make of yourself a light.”
We are the frightened crowd the Buddha looked into as he drew his last breath. We are the people who need to be light for one another.
Meditation is the only intentional, systematic human activity which at bottom is about not trying to improve yourself or get anywhere else, but simply to realize where you already are.
You must love the crust of the earth on which you dwell.
You must be able to extract nutriment out of a sandheap.
You must have so good an appetite as this, else you will live in vain.
Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become
When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be.
Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing.
Ajahn Chah, A Still Forest Pool
[When we are upset, sad, etc … we can remember]
we are the observers of the conditions —
we are not the conditions themselves.