Since many places of worship have been closed these times, and we are removed from many of our usual supports, we have developed sanctuaries and refuges inside ourselves
Once upon a time some disciples begged their old and ailing master not to die. “But if I do not go, how will you ever see?” the Master said to them. “What is it we can possibly see when you are gone?” one of them asked. With a twinkle in his eye, the Master answered, “All I ever did in my entire life was to sit on the river bank handing out river water. After I’m gone, Itrust that you will notice the river.”
Found in Joan Chittister, in Thomas Merton: Seeder of Radical Action and the Enlightened Heart
Basically, all emotions are modifications of one primordial, undifferentiated emotion that has its origin in the loss of awareness of who you are, beyond name and form. Because of its undifferentiated nature, it is hard to find a name that precisely describes this emotion. ‘Fear’ comes close, but apart from a continuous sense of threat, it also includes a deep sense of abandonment and incompleteness. It may be best to use a term that is as undifferentiated as that basic emotion and simply call it ‘pain.’
One of the main tasks of the mind is to fight or remove that emotional pain, which is one of the reasons for its incessant activity, but all it can ever achieve is to cover it up temporarily. In fact, the harder the mind struggles to get rid of the pain, the greater the pain. You will not be free of that pain until you cease to derive your sense of self from identification with the mind, which is to say from ego. The mind is then toppled from its place of power and Being reveals itself as your true nature.
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
One of the Japanese words for mind is kokoro. The word koro is the onomatopoeia for “rolling along.” Something that rolls like a ball is koro koro koro. So kokoro is something that is always moving and changing, never stopped. There is no object or form that we can identify as mind. It is always changing. Though we are always looking for something to rely on, we cannot find it in something called mind.
From the excellent book I am reading at the moment:
Shodo Harada , 1940 – Rinzai Zen abbot, Not One Single Thing: A Commentary on the Platform Sutra
It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humour, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.
Dr. Haim G. Ginott, 1922 – 1973, School teacher, Child psychologist and psychotherapist, Teacher and Child: A Book for Parents and Teachers.
Sometimes falsely attributed to Goethe. Thanks to Kim for pointing this out.