Sunday Quote: We do not always need to know what is happening

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Another quote on accepting that there are reasons we cannot see and that we do not always have to be in control.

Prompted by the swallows returning yesterday : 

Break open the cherry tree:

But where are the blossoms?

Wait for spring time and see how they bloom!

Ikkyu, Zen Buddhist monk and poet, 1394 – 1481

photo andrew bossi

Hold this day lightly

Most of us are very good at bringing suffering upon ourselves, by taking something that is happening and fixating on it, creating a worry and letting it take root inside us. We are less good at simply letting things be, without wanting to fix the world according to our preferences: 

Sitting quietly,

doing nothing,

Spring comes,

and the grass grows,

by itself.

Matsuo Bashō, 1644 – 1694

Falling is part of life

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Everyone, from time to time, experiences  a challenge which makes life seem less safe, when things seem to tighten around them – a new job, relationship difficulties, facing an illness or being let down.  Under these pressures we may stumble and even fall:

If there be anywhere on earth a lover of God who is always kept safe,

I know nothing of it, for it was not shown to me.

But this was shown:

that in falling and rising again we are always kept in that same precious love.

Julian of Norwich 

photo of memorial for Captain Scott South Pole, by Barneygumble


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There’s a kind of basic misunderstanding that we should try to be better than we already are, that we should try to improve ourselves, that we should try to get away from painful things, and that if we could just learn how to get away from the painful things, then we would be happy.

Pema Chödrön

When we practice meditation, we practice a double movement: there is a movement of return to the breath, a movement of recollection of presence, of samadhi — and there is a movement of mindfulness, of allowing everything to be just as it is. Last Sunday, I realized that the movement of return can also be a movement of allowing, of self-forgiveness. All the prodigal sons and daughters of our thoughts and dreams and gnarly little complexes are welcome to come to the feast of this present moment.

Tracy Cochran, Be a Lighthouse


Being kind to ourselves – even the difficult bits

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Face the shadow side of yourself, but do not identify with it. It represents only part of who you are.  So there is a difference between relating to the denied parts of yourself (bringing light to them), and totally “acting them out” (which is to leave them in their unconscious and dark state). This is why it is so foundational to know yourself, and to learn to be honest about your real motivations.

The hero in us wants to attack, fix, or deny the existence of our dark side. We can also be tempted to share dramatically everything about it as a way to control it (sometimes called ventilating or dumping). The saint merely weeps over the shadow and forgives it — and by God’s grace forgives himself for being a mere human. He opens his arms to that which has been in exile and welcomes it home for the friend that it often is.

Richard Rohr,  On the Threshold of Transformation: Daily Meditations for Men