We are rather like whirlpools in the river of life….[but]..we’d rather not think of our lives in this way, however. We don’t want to see ourselves as simply a temporary formation, a whirlpool in the river of life. The fact is, we take form for a while, then when conditions are appropriate, we fade out.
However, we want to think that this little whirlpool that we are isn’t part of the stream. We want to see ourselves as permanent and stable. Our whole energy goes into trying to protect our supposed separateness. To protect the separateness, we set up artificial, fixed boundaries; as a consequence, we accumulate excess baggage, stuff that slips into our whirlpool and can’t flow out again. So this clogs up our whirlpool and the process gets messy. The stream needs to flow naturally and freely… We serve other whirlpools best if the water that enters ours is free to rush through and move on easily and quickly to whatever else needs to be stirred. The energy of life seeks rapid transformation. If we can see life this way and not cling to anything, life simply comes and goes.
Charlotte Joko Beck, Nothing Special: Living Zen.
What makes people despair is that they try to find a universal meaning to the whole of life, and then end up by saying it is absurd, illogical, empty of meaning.
There is not one big, cosmic meaning for all, there is only the meaning we each give to our life, an individual meaning, an individual plot, like an individual novel, a book for each person.
The sense of unworthiness, it seems, comes out of our being talked out of, trained out of, conditioned out of trusting our natural being. It is the result of being turned away from ourselves, taught to distrust ourselves.
We are worthy of letting go of our unworthiness. If we did nothing but practice letting go of unworthiness, much of the stuff we’re working so hard to clear away would have no support system. We would have more room to grow. Consciously we surrender unworthiness as it arises, not entertaining it with the ego’s list of credits. the work which will awaken us is that of becoming keenly aware of unworthiness without judging it. Gently, with patience and a lot of love, we acknowledge the being we really are. As a friend puts it, “Always try to see yourself through God’s eyes”.
Sit only under a tree that is full of blossoms.
Perhaps somewhere, someplace deep inside your being, you have undergone important changes while you were sad.
Rainer Maria Rilke
When we practice meditation …. we are instructed to look at ourselves as directly as possible. My own experience tells me that when I look into my mirror, into my biography, the set of stories that I tell myself to explain who I am to myself, I can find all kinds of terrible things: some of them done to me, some done by me. I can use these elements to judge myself and others harshly. On the other side, I tend to ignore all the evidence from my memories of my past when I behaved or was treated in a loving and helpful way.
But whether we call the remembered events that constitute our personal biography horrible or wonderful, the incessant judgment of the self is a habit that leads nowhere. Instead, the instruction, again and again, is to see through the self as some kind of permanent object, something to be judged or loved, and to see how the elements of the self are actually constructions. True freedom, alignment with reality, comes from seeing through the self-construction, not abandoning it, but not treating it like something inscribed in stone either.
Melissa Myozen Blacker, from her blog firefly hall