We often ask, ‘what’s wrong?’ Doing so, we invite painful seeds of sorrow to come up and manifest. We feel suffering, anger, and depression, and produce more such seeds. We would be much happier if we tried to stay in touch with the healthy, joyful seeds inside of us and around us. We should learn to ask, ‘what’s not wrong?’ and be in touch with that.
One of my favourite thoughts from Thich Nhat Hahn, who died yesterday, aged 95
Birth, old age, Sickness, and death:
From the beginning this is the way things have always been.
Any thought of release from this life will wrap you only more tightly in its snares.
The sleeping person looks for a Buddha, The troubled person turns toward meditation.
But the one who knows that there’s nothing to seek, knows too that there’s nothing to say.
She keeps her mouth closed.
Ly Ngoc Kieu, 1041 – 1113, Vietnamese zen Buddhist nun.
Translation Thich Nhat Hahn and Jane Hirshfield
The human body at peace with itself
Is more precious than the rarest gem.
Cherish your body.
It is yours this time only.
The human form is won with difficulty.
It is easy to lose.
All worldly things are brief,
Like a flash of lightning in the sky.
This life you must know as the tiny splash of a raindrop
That disappears even as it comes into being.
Therefore set your goal.
Make use of every day and night to achieve it
Je Tsongkhapa, 1357–1419, Tibetan Buddhist monk
We’re more addicted to fear than to fearlessness. Notice how much of the day you hold tightly to your fears, especially the fear of the loss of control. All of our “what if” thinking falls into this category: “What if I don’t do it right?” “What if it’s painful?” “What if I look bad?” These thoughts are based on wanting to control some imagined future more than on what’s happening now. It’s crucial to see and to label them with the question: “What is my most believed thought right now?”
The simplicity and clarity of practice amounts to this: first, we must see through the mental process, dropping the story line of “me.” What is the story line of “me”? It’s the addiction to comfort and thoughts, to our self-judgments and emotions, to our identities and our fears.
Ezra Bayda, How to Live a Genuine life
It takes a long time to sift through the more superficial voices of your own gift in order to enter into the deep signature and tonality of your Otherness. When you speak from that deep, inner voice, you are really speaking from the unique tabernacle of your own presence. There is a voice within you that no one, not even you, has ever heard. Give yourself the opportunity of silence and begin to develop your listening in order to hear, deep within yourself, the music of your own spirit.
John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: Spiritual Wisdom from the Celtic World
We cast a shadow on something wherever we stand, and it is no good moving from place to place to save things; because the shadow always follows. Choose a place where you won’t do harm – yes, choose a place where you won’t do very much harm, and stand in it for all you are worth, facing the sunshine.
E.M. Forster, A Room with a View