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

Our moods change

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

Making the weather

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.

A new month, a clear mind

Our news these days has a continual fearful, –  or as we see this week – an angry or resentful tone. We have to work to ensure that it does not become the dominant energy of this day or this new month.

The water of the mind, how clear it is!
Gazing at it, the boundaries are invisible.
But as soon as even a slight thought arises,
ten thousand images crowd it.
Attach to them, and they become real.
Be carried by them, and it will be difficult to return.
How painful to see a person trapped in the ten-fold delusions.

Ryokan, Sōtō Zen Buddhist monk,  1758 – 1831

Pay Attention

Last Sunday, my friends and I spoke about the gift of learning to observe ourselves impartially. We spoke of using the constantly changing flow of sensory feeling in the body — keeping it simple, just knowing pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral in the body.  Breaking our experience down in this way — sunlight, pleasant, shadow, unpleasant – can help us glimpse the flowing, changing nature of our experience. But turning our attention to the moment-by-moment experience of the life of body can accomplish something much greater. It can help free us from an obsessive identification with a small, embattled self. It can be the key to living a much bigger life — a good life in the deepest sense.

Tracy Cochran, Pay Attention, for Goodness Sake