In meditation we’re learning from Nature rather than from society, so you have to train in terms of wilderness awareness: to learn from your bodily intelligence. Otherwise, if you’re trying to get your business-model, ‘get it done’ mind, to take you to samādhi (concentration or calm) it’s like riding an elephant as if you’re driving a taxi: you implant stress onto a natural process and that constricts your awareness.
May whatever circumstances that arise serve the awakening of compassion.
Buddhist Aspiration quoted by Tara Brach, Radical Compassion in Challenging Times
When life does not in any way add up, we must turn to the part of us that has never wanted a life of simple calculation. To be consoled is to be invited into the terrible ground of beauty upon which our inevitable disappearance stands, to a voice that does not soothe falsely, but touches the epicenter of our pain or articulates the essence of our loss, and then emancipates us into the privilege of both life and death as equal birthrights.
Solace is a direct seeing and participation; a celebration of the beautiful coming and going, appearance and disappearance of which we have always been a part. Solace is not meant to be an answer, but an invitation, through the door of pain and difficulty, to the depth of suffering and simultaneous beauty in the world that the strategic mind by itself cannot grasp nor make sense of.
In Auschwitz, we never knew from one moment to another what was going to happen….I couldn’t fight or flee, but I learned how to stay in a situation and make the best of what is. I still had choices. So, when we were stripped and shorn of our hair, Magda asked me, ‘How do I look?’ She looked like a mangy dog, but I told her: ‘Your eyes are so beautiful. I never noticed when you had all that hair.’ Every day, we could choose to pay attention to what we’d lost or what we still had.
Edith Eger , 1927 – Holocaust Survivor, The Choice: Embrace the Possible
This isn’t a journey about becoming something. This is about unbecoming who we are not, about undeceiving ourselves. We don’t end up anywhere other than where we have always been, except that we perceive where we have always been completely differently. We realize that the heaven everyone is seeking is where we have always been. We are already as much as we will ever be. But the question is – do we know it? …….And so one of the most important steps is to come into agreement with your life so that you’re not turning away from yourself in any way. And the amazing thing is that when we are no longer turning away from ourselves, we find a great amount of energy, a great capacity for clarity and wisdom, and we start to see everything we need to see.
Adyashanti, The End of Your World
We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake,
not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn.
Henry David Thoreau