Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good. What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing.
Our hermitage is the act of living with attention in the midst of things; amid the rhythms of work and love, the bath with the child, the endlessly growing paperwork, the ever-present likelihood of war, the necessity for taking action to help the world. For us, a good spiritual life is permeable and robust. It faces things squarely, knowing the smallest moments are all we have, and that even the smallest moment is full of happiness.
Whatever is in front of you today, that’s what you need to deal with. There is no point waiting for another life to come along.
‘Whatever you meet is the path.’ To practice this slogan is to know that no matter what is going on – no matter how distracted you think you are, no matter how much you feel like a terribly lazy individual who has completely lost track of her good intentions and is now hopelessly astray – even then you have the responsibility and the ability to take all negativity, bad circumstance, and difficulty and turn it into the path. You are constantly being found, whether you know it or not.
Norman Fischer, Life is Tough. Here Are Six Ways to Deal With It.
If I am not careful – if I rise frantic from my bed, full of small concerns – the mystical flow of imagination at rest will be broken, the past and the future will rush in to claim my mind and I will be swept up into life’s petty details and myriad obligations…Something precious is lost if we rush headlong into the details of life without pausing for a moment to pay homage to the mystery of life and the gift of another day.
Kent Nerburn, Small Graces, The Quiet Gifts of Everyday Life
Sometimes it seems almost everything in our culture conspires to distance us from heart and soul. So many messages are ads, trying to sell us something of questionable usefulness while ruthlessly pandering to our vanity, insecurity, or unhappiness – new toys, fashion, entertainment, or insurance against the inevitabilities of life. Few people ask the bigger questions.
Constant superficial conversation keeps us from noticing what’s going on with us emotionally or spiritually or in our bodies. Small talk alienates us from ourselves- perhaps a purpose as well as a result. In order to approach the deeper truths of our soul, we must quiet the inner chatter.
Bill Plotkin, Crossing into the Mysteries of Nature and Psyche