Meister Eckhart said, “There is a place in the soul — there is a place in the soul that neither time, nor space, nor no created thing can touch.” And I really thought that was amazing, and what it means is that your identity is not equivalent to your biography. And that there is a place in you where you have never been wounded, where there’s still a sureness in you, where there’s a seamlessness in you, and where there is a confidence and tranquility in you. And I think the intention of prayer and spirituality and love is now and again to visit that inner kind of sanctuary.
John O’Donoghue, Interview with Krista Tippett, On Being
The only true antidote to always wanting more, as this 8th Century reminds us, is to be aware of, and rooted in, our inherent completeness, an awareness which will contradict the arising feeling of never being satisfied.
There is a solitary brightness without fixed shape or form.
It knows how to listen to the teachings,
it knows how to understand the teachings,
it knows how to teach.
That solitary brightness is you.
Linji Yìxuán, Chinese Zen Buddhist monk, died 866
We spend a lot of time creating suffering through imagining scenarios that never actually come to pass. These can be with us even as we get up in the morning. One way the different traditions try to help with this is by encouraging us to drop into the natural calm that lies beneath the restless thoughts – our natural wakefulness, our “true face”. Being mindful is something intrinsic to the mind, not something foreign we are trying to bring in. It is like sinking below the ripples on the surface of the lake and finding calm depths beneath.
In this high place, it is as simple as this,
leave everything you know behind.
Step toward the cold surface, say the old prayer of rough love
and open both arms.
Those who come with empty hands
will stare into the lake astonished
there in the cold light, reflecting cold snow
the true shape of your own face
David Whyte, Tilokal Lake
The human heart is never still. … There are always new thoughts and experiences emerging in your life; some moments delight and surprise you, others bring you onto shaky ground. …The mind and heart are wanderers who are always tempted by new horizons. … Your longing frequently takes you on inner voyages that no one would ever guess. …longing keeps the door open and calls towards us the gifts and blessings which our lives dream.
Look at love – how it tangles
with the one fallen in love
look at spirit – how it fuses with earth
giving it new life.
Why are you so busy with this or that or good or bad
pay attention to how things blend
why talk about all the known and the unknown
see how the unknown merges into the known
why think separately of this life and the next
when one is born from the last
look at your heart and tongue
one feels but deaf and dumb
the other speaks in words and signs
look at water and fire, earth and wind
enemies and friends all at once
the wolf and the lamb, the lion and the deer
far away yet together
look at the unity of this
spring and winter, manifested in the equinox
you too must mingle my friends
since the earth and the sky
are mingled just for you and me
be like sugarcane, sweet yet silent
don’t get mixed up with bitter words
my beloved grows right out of my own heart
how much more union can there be.
Rumi, Look at Love
The primary cause of disorder in ourselves
is the seeking of reality promised by another
Krishnamurti, Freedom from the Known