Is it the bowl that rolls around the pearl,
or is it the pearl that rolls around the bowl?
Is it the weather that is cold,
or is it the person who is cold?
Think neither cold nor heat — at that moment, where is the self to be found?
Dogen (1200 – 1253) commentary on Dongshan’s (807–869) koan “Cold and Heat”
Spring has started early in Ireland with some days very mild, blossoms already on the trees and daffodils in full bloom. However, everyday is different and today is forecast wet and windy. A weather that is always in motion, hot and cold…
Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche said “there is no cure for hot and cold”. He meant that our lives have periods of good things and bad, things may go well but we still have self-doubt. Our minds seem to be always in motion – a succession of thoughts and emotions, good intentions and petty thoughts, kindness followed by self-seeking.
Pema Chodron used the phrase to encourage us not to struggle but rather relax into life as it is. In this way, we not only can stop the complaining that goes on in our mind, but also be pleasantly surprised by what the weather of a day blows into our lives:
The way to dissolve our resistance to life is to meet it face to face. When we feel resentment because the room is too hot, we could meet the heat and feel its fieriness and its heaviness. When we feel resentment because the room is too cold, we could meet the cold and feel its iciness and its bite. When we want to complain about the rain, we could feel its wetness instead. When we worry because the wind is shaking our windows, we could meet the wind and hear its sound. Cutting our expectations for a cure is a gift we can give ourselves. There is no cure for hot and cold. They will go on forever.
We like to think that we are in control and directing things…
Let go of all your assumptions
And the world will make perfect sense
In Buddhism, a definition of faith is the ability to keep our hearts open in the darkness of the unknown. The root of the word patience is a Latin verb for “suffer,” which in the ancient sense meant to hold, not to grasp but to bear, to tolerate without pushing away. Being patient doesn’t mean being passive. It means being attentive, willing to be available to what is happening, going on seeing, noticing how things change. When we aren’t wishing for something to be over, or when we aren’t freezing around an idea about what it is we are seeing, we see and hear more. We notice that nature has cycles, that each day is not the same length and quality, and that darkness passes. The meaning of life, the real purpose of our presence here, is being attentive, being willing to go on seeing and keeping our hearts open — not just for our sake but for the sake of others. We make ourselves available to life, opening our hearts to the passing flow of it, knowing we will blunder and get it wrong but sometimes right.
Tracy Cochran (with thanks to make believe boutique)
We cannot always control what happens in a day, but we can control how it affects us:
Just like a drop of water on a lotus leaf,
or in the same way as water on a red lily does not stick,
so too a wise person does not get hooked by
the seen, the heard, the sensed
The Buddha, Jara Sutra: Old Age
Different thoughts come to my mind prompted by these words of Rumi.
One says simply: Give up the worrying chatter of the week and take some rest in silence this weekend. Another says: Words are just inadequate to say what things or people mean to you. A third says: Your heart knows better than your thinking mind. Let go and follow it.
What do they say to you?
Inside me a hundred beings are putting their fingers to their lips and saying,
“That’s enough for now. Shhhhh.”
Silence is an ocean. Speech is a river.
When the ocean is searching for you, don’t walk
to the language-river.
Listen to the ocean,
and bring your talky business to an end.
Rumi, Send the Chaperones Away
Life has told me that it knows better plans than we can imagine,
so that I try to submerge my own desires…into a calm willingness
to accept whatever comes,
to make the most of it,
then wait again.
Julia Seton, By a Thousand Fires:
Nature notes and extracts from the life and unpublished journals of Ernest Thompson Seton