Fearful dramas

This evening is the most important Celtic feast of the year – Samhain -which celebrates the end of the year – with its light and growth – and the start of a new period, marked by darkness and rest. These themes are somewhat reflected in the celebration of Halloween.

These days the mind has plenty of material to create fears, from the resurgent virus and its impact on the economy, to politics and divisions. These outside events can enter our minds as fearful agitated energies:

We create big problems for ourselves by not recognizing mind energies when they arrive dressed up as ghosts. They are like the neighbor’s children disguised as Halloween ghosts. When we open the door and find the child next door dressed in a sheet, even though it looks like a ghost, we remember it is simply the child next door. And when I remember the dramas of my life are the energies of the mind dressed up in the sheet of a story, I manage them more gracefully.

Sylvia Boorstein


Lie back daughter, let your head
be tipped back in the cup of my hand.
Gently, and I will hold you. Spread
your arms wide, lie out on the stream
and look high at the gulls….

As you float now, where I held you
and let go, remember when fear
cramps your heart what I told you:
lie gently and wide to the light-year

stars, l
ie back, and the sea will hold you.

Philip Booth, 1925 – 2007, American poet, First Lesson

Breathing in and breathing out

Very similar to the wisdom tradition in Ecclesiastes, a long perspective for these uncertain times:

Everything under heaven is a sacred vessel and cannot be controlled.

Trying to control leads to ruin. Trying to grasp, we lose.

Allow your life to unfold naturally. Know that it too is a vessel of perfection.

Just as you breathe in and breathe out, there is a time for being ahead and a time for being behind;

a time for being in motion and a time for being at rest;

a time for being vigorous and a time for being exhausted;

a time for being safe and a time for being in danger.

Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, v 29

What thoughts

As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.

Henry David Thoreau

Staying awake

Zen is really just a reminder to stay alive and to be awake….We tend to daydream all the time, speculating about the future and dwelling on the past. Zen practice is about appreciating your life in this moment. If you are truly aware of five minutes a day, then you are doing pretty well. We are beset by both the future and the past, and there is no reality apart from the here and now.

Peter  Matthiessen, 1927 – 2014. American Writer