One of the most important – and most neglected – elements in the beginning of the interior life is the ability to respond to reality, to see the value and the beauty in ordinary things, to come alive to the splendor that is all around us
I have simply stopped arguing with reality. How do I know the wind should blow? It’s blowing. How do I know this is the highest order? It’s happening.
Arguing with ‘what is’ is like teaching a cat to bark. It’s not very fulfilling… The way I know that reality is good is that when I argue the point I experience tension, fear and frustration. I lose – not sometimes, but 100% of the time. It just doesn’t feel natural inside: no balance, no connection. I want reality to change? Hopeless. Let me change my thinking. Some of us mentally argue with ‘what is.’ Others of us attempt to control and change ‘what is,’ and then tell ourselves and others that we actually had something to do with any apparent change that took place.
In the pursuit of the Tao,
every day something is dropped.
Less and less do you need to force things,
until finally you arrive at non-action.
When nothing is done,
nothing is left undone.
True mastery can be gained
by letting things go their own way.
It can’t be gained by interfering
Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching,
The waters before, and the waters after,
Now and forever flowing,
follow each other.
Alan Watts, The Flow of Zen
This is the art of the soul:
to harvest your deeper life
from all the seasons of your experience.
I will be like
someone who cannot
hide their love
but my joy will become
and like a lover
I will find out
exactly what it is like
to be the happiest,
the only one in creation
I’m just a hair’s breadth
David Whyte, Mortality My Mistress [extract]