As we go along

No one imagines that a symphony is supposed to improve as it goes along, or that the whole object of playing is to reach the finale. The point of music is discovered in every moment of playing and listening to it. It is the same, I feel, with the greater part of our lives, and if we are unduly absorbed in improving them we may forget altogether to live them.

Alan Watts, This is it

Who we are

Growth and transformation occur not by changing who we are

…….but as we summon the courage to be who we are.

And that means bringing our own true, vulnerable, imperfect selves out of hiding and into the world

Katrina Kenison, Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment

Endings and beginnings

After the year that we have had, the last day according to the Christian Calendar. Advent starts this evening. A welcome time of renewal and nourishment for our tired bones…

Poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry. Yes indeed.

Mary Oliver, Poetry Handbook

The wide streams go their way,
The pond lapses back into a glassy silence.
The cause of God in me — has it gone?
Do these bones live? Can I live with these bones?

Theodore Roethke, American poet 1908 – 1963, What Can I Tell My Bones? (extract)

In the light we see everything

Mindfulness practice isn’t meant to eliminate thinking but aims rather to help us know what we’re thinking when we’re thinking it, just as we want to know what we’re feeling when we’re feeling it….Meditation is like going into an old attic room and turning on the light. In that light we see everything — the beautiful treasures we’re grateful to have unearthed; the dusty, neglected corners that inspire us to say, “I’d better clean that up”; the unfortunate relics of the past that we thought we had gotten rid of years ago. We acknowledge them all, with an open, spacious, and loving awareness.

It’s never too late to turn on the light. Your ability to break an unhealthy habit or turn off an old tape doesn’t depend on how long it’s been running; a shift in perspective doesn’t depend on how long you’ve held the old view.

Sharon Salzberg, Mindfulness and Difficult Emotions

No easy understanding

We live in a time of the dissected soul, the immediate disclosure; our thoughts, imaginings and longings exposed to the light too much, too early and too often, our best qualities squeezed too soon into a world already awash with too easily articulated ideas that oppress our sense of self and our sense of others. What is real is almost always to begin with, hidden, and does not want to be understood by the part of our mind that mistakenly thinks it knows what is happening….Hiding leaves life to itself, to become more of itself. Hiding is the radical independence necessary for our emergence into the light of a proper human future.

David Whyte, Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words