Fully here

The present moment is never unbearable if you live in it fully.

What is unbearable is to have your body here at 10 A.M. and your mind at 6 P.M.

your body in Bombay and your mind in San Francisco.

Anthony de Mello, sj, The Heart of the Enlightened

Versions of ourselves

Most of us are not open most of the time, we pretend that we are open, but mostly you’re running your own dramatic event of which you are the hero or the heroine. Usually that’s what we are doing most of the time.

The youth stops being so important, you’re too tired to maintain the hero that you think you are or the failure that you think you are, whatever the version of yourself that you bought into is — “I’m this failure, I’m not enough, or I’m this” … I’m more than anybody understands.

Those versions of yourself are not very useful.

Leonard Cohen, on what he learnt in his time in a Zen Monastery

Sunday Quote: Allow

 

Allow your life to unfold naturally.

Just as you breathe in and breathe out, there is a time for being ahead and a time for being behind; a time for being in motion and a time for being at rest; a time for being vigorous and a time for being exhausted; a time for being safe and a time for being in danger.

Lao Tzu

Life’s weather

Another storm passing over parts of Ireland today: high winds, then cold and snow. A good metaphor for our life.  Sometimes  we are subject to cold winds from an unexpected direction:

Being tossed and turned by circumstances is part of life’s weather. You may trip on obstacles, hurting someone you love. You may find yourself alone, without the person with whom you thought you’d spend the rest of your life. 

How do we meet these challenges?

For me, I try to remember, when breaking, that every crack is an opening. No matter how harsh the experience, something is always opened within us; and what is opened is always more important than what breaks us. We might experience cruelty or unfairness or indifference or the brutality of chance — all of which are difficult and life-changing. And while cruelty and injustice are never excusable and need to be rectified, we must not get stuck in our list of legitimate grievances, or we will never be able to enter the depth that becomes available for being open. 

It’s hard to keep this deeper understanding of life in view when in pain, when in fear, when confused and worried. But this is the nature of being broken. “To be broken is no reason to see all things as broken.” This notion has been a profound teacher for me in meeting difficulty. Though it’s understandable to be consumed with what we’re going through, it’s essential to remember that all of life is not where we are. In fact, this is when we need the aliveness and vitality of everything that is not us. When closed, we need to open. When fearful, we need to trust again. When feeling lost, we need to remember that we are in the stream of life, which is never lost.

Mark Nepo, What to Do When You’re Broken

Living in the midst of uncertainty

In the Christian calendar,  this is the last week of the year, so some of the reflections around this time are on how to arrive at the end of one’s life without regret and with a sense of acceptance and wisdom. Do we ever get to any real place of resolution in this world?

This world is full of conflicts and full of things that cannot be reconciled but there are moments when we can transcend the dualistic system and reconcile and embrace the whole mess and that’s what I mean by Hallelujah…. That’s what it’s all about. It says that none of this – you’re not going to be able to work this thing out – you’re not going to be able to set – this realm does not admit to revolution – there’s no solution to this mess. The only moment that you can live here comfortably in these absolutely irreconcilable conflicts is in this moment when you embrace it all and you say ‘Look, I don’t understand a fucking thing at all – Hallelujah! That’s the only moment that we live here fully as human beings.

Leonard Cohen