There is an internal landscape, a geography of the soul; we search for its outlines all our lives. Some find it in the place of their birth; others may leave a seaside town, parched, and find themselves refreshed in the desert. There are those born in rolling countryside who are really only at ease in the intense and busy loneliness of the city. For some, the search is for the imprint of another; a child or a mother, a grandfather or a brother, a lover, a husband, a wife, or a foe. We may go through our lives happy or unhappy, successful or unfulfilled, loved or unloved, without ever standing cold with the shock of recognition, without ever feeling the agony as the twisted iron in our soul unlocks itself and we slip at last into place.
Happiness is not a matter of intensity,
photo Stephanie de Nadai
All of us rock back and forth between the tendency to hold on to ideas, experiences and emotions, and the ability to glide through the changes of our life. One reminder that can be helpful for being more fluid is to recognize our own watery-ness. We are also made up of earth (no wonder we get stuck sometimes), air (can’t make a commitment?), fire (sometimes passion helps), and space (ahhh…). But an overwhelming percentage of our physical make-up is water….Relating to waves of movement is what allows us to stay steady and sustain balance. The word “balance” comes from the Latin balare, meaning “to dance.” [And] you know what happens to water if it stays still — it either turns into ice or becomes brackish and unhealthy. The same thing happens when we try to latch on to a prescribed feeling or experience. If we can only relax a bit we will see that our feelings, both emotional and physical, are flowing all the time. It’s fun to think of your own body as a tiny part of the whole world of tides, rains, rivers and other people’s ninety-percent-water bodies. Can you let your body be the water bed that your heart and mind rest on?
Cyndi Lee, Go with the Flow
Underneath our nice, friendly facades
there is great unease. If I were to scratch below the surface of anyone I would find fear and anxiety running amok.
We all have ways to cover them up.
We overwork, over-drink, overeat;
we watch too much television,
we look for relationships.
We are always doing something to cover up our basic existential anxiety.
Charlotte Joko Beck
We tend to think of the mind as being in the body. Actually we’ve got it wrong: the body is rather in the mind. Everything that we know about the body, now and at any previous time, has been known through the agency of our mind. This doesn’t mean to say there isn’t a physical world, but what we can say for certain is that the experience of the body, and the experience of the world, happen within our mind. It’s all happening here. And when that here-ness is truly recognized and woken up to, the world’s externality, its separateness ceases. When we realize that we hold the whole world within us, its thing-ness, its other-ness has been checked. We are better able to recognize its true nature.
Ajahn Amaro, Inner Listening
Nothing outside yourself can cause any trouble.
You yourself make the waves in your mind.
If you leave your mind as it is, it will become calm.
Shunryu Suzuki Roshi