The distance doesn’t matter


The distance doesn’t matter;

it is only the first step that counts

La distance n’y fait rien; il n’y a que le premier pas qui coûte.

Marquise du Deffand, 1697 – 1780, French hostess and patron of the arts. She was commenting on the popular legend of Saint Denis who was said to have walked for 6 miles carrying his head after being beheaded. 

Something is always far away.

We treat desire as a problem to be solved, address what desire is for and focus on that something and how to acquire it,  rather than on the nature and the sensation of desire……. I wonder sometimes whether with a slight adjustment of perspective it could be cherished as a sensation on its own terms, since it is as inherent to the human condition as blue is to distance? If you can look across the distance without wanting to close it up, if you can own your longing in the same way that you own the beauty of that blue that can never be possessed? For something of this longing will, like the blue of distance, only be relocated, not assuaged, by acquisition and arrival, just as the mountains cease to be blue when you arrive among them and the blue instead tints the next beyond. Somewhere in this is the mystery of why tragedies are more beautiful than comedies and why we take a huge pleasure in the sadness of certain songs and stories. Something is always far away.

Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost

Winds may blow

Awareness is the basis, or what you might call the “support,” of the mind. It is steady and unchanging, like the pole to which the flag of ordinary consciousness is attached. When we recognize and become grounded in awareness, the “wind” of emotion may still blow. But instead of being carried away by the wind, we turn our attention inward, watching the shifts and changes with the intention of becoming familiar with that aspect of consciousness that recognizes  Oh, “this is what I’m feeling, this is what I’m thinking”. As we do so, a bit of space opens up within us. With practice, that space – which is the mind’s natural clarity – begins to expand and settle.

Yongey Mingpur Rinpoche