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

The recipe

Of one thing I am pretty sure,’ he resumed, ‘that the same recipe Goethe gave for the enjoyment of life, applies equally to all work: “Do the thing that lies next you.” That is all our business. Hurried results are worse than none. We must force nothing, but be partakers of the divine patience…All haste implies weakness. Time is as cheap as space and matter.

George MacDonald (1824-1905), Scottish poet, novelist, and Minister, Robert Falconer

Just for a little while

Just for a little while, stop thinking about all the problems, crises, tasks. everything that’s pulling and pushing on us.

Be in that quiet space.  

After all these years, some of us still need permission to let go.

Melody Beatty

The sun still shines

A lot of wisdom in this:
The trick to having a happy life is to remember that it all comes down to what we ourselves make of the life we have. 

“The sun shines and warms and lights us and we have no curiosity to know why this is so”, Ralph Waldo Emerson says, ” but we ask the reason of all evil, of pain, and hunger and mosquitoes and silly people.”

Joan Chittister, O.S.B., American Benedictine nun.

Things arise and pass away

The Buddha takes something like suffering, (dukkha), and says it’s a Noble Truth. This was an astounding thing to be doing because humans think that suffering is a nasty fact of life, and we want to get rid of it. So we’re always running around trying to find happiness and security in the things that are always changing, and of course we end up suffering more. So just changing the attitude towards suffering is what the Buddha did. Not to get rid of it or blame it on anybody, but to recognize it. Then you’re no longer looking at suffering from aversion and wanting to get rid of it or blaming it on somebody else, but seeing what it actually is in the present moment: formations arising and ceasing. That’s brilliant!

Ajahn Sumedho, Remembering Tan Ajahn Buddhadāsa