Someday we’ll live in the sky.
Meanwhile, the house of our lives is the world.
The fields, the ponds, the birds.
The thick black oaks — surely they are the
children of God.
The feistiness among the tiger lilies,
the hedges of runaway honeysuckle, that no one owns.
Where is it? I ask, and then
my feet know it.
One jump, and I’m home.
Mary Oliver, Boundaries
One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. One can collect only a few, and they are more beautiful if they are few… My life… lacks this quality of significance and therefore beauty, because there is so little empty space…. There are so few empty pages in my engagement pad, or empty hours in the day, or empty rooms in my life in which to stand alone and find myself. Too many activities, and people, and things. Too many worthy activities, valuable things, and interesting people. For it is not merely the trivial which clutters our lives but the important as well. We can have a surfeit of treasures – an excess of shells, where one or two would be significant.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh, 1906 – 2001, American Writer and Aviator, Author of Gifts of the Sea
The ridicule or praise of people means nothing
This is an old truth; Don’t think it was discovered recently.
“I want this, I want that”
Is nothing but foolishness.
I’ll tell you a secret:
All things are impermanent.
Ryoken, 1758–1831, Zen Buddhist monk and poet
Some ideas to counter the frequent thought that our life would be better if only this or that happened, or indeed, if this or that had not happened to us.
No creature ever falls short of its own completion.
Wherever it stands it does not fail to cover the ground
Dogen, 1200 – 1253, Buddhist thinker, founder of the Sōtō school of Zen
I will give thanks to you because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made.
Psalm 139: 14
Often we’re cast about by the noise of the world and the noise in our heads. Often we’re mesmerized by the stunning cacophony that masks itself as excitement. And though there’s much to be gained for being in the world, we can’t make sense of it till we stop the noise, till we go below the noise, till we go below the habit of our own thoughts. As a whale or dolphin must break surface, only to dive back down, only to break surface again, each of us must break surface into the noise of the world, only to rest our way back into the depth of stillness, where we can know ourselves and life more deeply, until we have to break surface again…For the noise of the mind never dies. It can only be put in perspective, quieted until we can hear the more ancient voices that give us life. At every turn, we need to stop the noise, our own and everyone else’s, not to retreat from the world but to live more fully in it.
Mark Nepo, Stopping the Noise
Do we need to make a special effort to enjoy the beauty of the blue sky? Do we have to practice to be able to enjoy it? No, we just enjoy it. Each second, each minute of our life can be like this. Wherever we are, any time, we have the capacity to enjoy the sunshine, the presence of each other, even the sensation of our breathing. We don’t need to go to China to enjoy the blue sky. We don’t have to travel into the future to enjoy our breathing. We can be in touch with these things right now.
Thich Nhat Hanh