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

Comparing

As long as the mind is comparing, there is no love, and the mind is always judging, comparing, weighing, looking to find where the weakness is. So where there is comparison, there is no love. When the mother and father love their children, they do not compare them, they do not compare their child with another child; it is their child and they love their child. But you want to compare yourself with something better, with something nobler, with something richer, so you create in yourself a lack of love. You are always concerned with yourself in relationship to somebody else. As the mind becomes more and more comparative, more and more possessive, more and more depending, it creates a pattern in which it gets caught, so it cannot look at anything anew, afresh.

And so it destroys that very thing, that very perfume of life, which is love.

J. Krishnamurti

Every moment is good

Returning to our relationship with the present moment, is an attempt to arrive at a total grasp of the universe, and thus keep …anchored in the moving stream of life, which embraces known and unknown.

Any and every moment, from this viewpoint, is therefore good or right, the best for whoever it be, for on how one orients himself to the moment depends the failure or fruitfulness of it.

Henry Miller, The Wisdom of the Heart