Nothing to achieve

A lot of modern stress comes from the mistaken belief that we should always be working on a better version of ourselves, always looking for greater success. 

In all ten directions of the universe, there is only one truth.

When we see clearly, the great teachings are the same.

What can ever be lost? What can be attained?

If we attain something, it was there from the beginning of time.

If we lose something, it is hiding somewhere near us.

Ryokan, 1758–1831, Zen Monk and poet

Setting it all down

Not being tied to our urgent to-do lists:

Consider the lilies of the field…

And you — what of your rushed and

useful life? Imagine setting it all down —

papers, plans, appointments, everything,

leaving only a note: “Gone to the fields

to be lovely. Be back when I’m through

with blooming.

Lynn Ungar, Camas Lilies

Leaving behind

Same message, different traditions, same time period

If people seek peace in outward things, whether in places or in methods or in people or in deeds … however great or of whatever kind all this may be, this is all in vain and brings them no peace. Those who seek thus seek wrongly; the further they go the less they find what they are seeking. They are like one who has taken a wrong turning: the further he goes, the more he goes astray. But what should he do? In truth, if one gave up a kingdom or the whole world and did not give up self, he or she would have given up nothing. But if one gives up oneself, then whatever one keeps, wealth, honour or whatever it may be, still they have given up everything.  

Meister Eckhart, German theologian, philosopher and mystic, 1260 – 1328

To study the self is to forget the self. 
To forget the self is to be enlightened by the ten thousand things 

Dogen, Buddhist monk and philosopher, founder of the Soto school of Zen, 1200 – 1253,

 

Traps

Imagine you are walking in the woods and you see a small dog sitting by a tree. As you approach it, it suddenly lunges at you, teeth bared. You are frightened and angry. But then you notice that one of its legs is caught in a trap. Immediately your mood shifts from anger to concern: You see that the dog’s aggression is coming from a place of vulnerability and pain. This applies to all of us. When we behave in hurtful ways, it is because we are caught in some kind of trap. The more we look through the eyes of wisdom at ourselves and one another, the more we cultivate a compassionate heart.

Tara Brach, True Refuge

All things are charged with..

Another Saturday, another piece from Mary Oliver

The dog, the donkey, surely they know they are alive. Who would argue otherwise? But now, after years of consideration, I am getting beyond that. What about the sunflowers? What about The tulips, and the pines? Listen, all you have to do is start and There?ll be no stopping. What about mountains? What about water Slipping over rocks? And speaking of stones, what about The little ones you can Hold in your hands, their heartbeats So secret, so hidden it may take years Before, finally, you hear them?

Mary Oliver, Swan: Poems and Prose Poems

All things therefore are charged with love, are charged with God and if we knew how to touch them give off sparks and take fire, yield drops and flow, ring and tell of him

Gerard Manley Hopkins, Letters