All around

All has been consecrated.
The creatures in the forest know this,

the earth does, the seas do, the clouds know
as does the heart full of love.

Strange a priest would rob us of this
and then empower himself
with the ability

to make holy what
already was.

St Catherine of Siena (1347–1380),

in Daniel Ladinsky, Love Poems from God:Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West 

The right focus

You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going.

What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith, and hope.

Thomas Merton

Being thankful

Years ago I had a Buddhist teacher in Thailand who would remind all his students that there was always something to be thankful for. He’d say, “Let’s rise and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we may have learned a little. And if we didn’t learn even a little, at least we didn’t get sick. And if we did get sick, at least we didn’t die. So let us all be thankful”.

Leo Buscaglia, Born for Love: Reflections on Loving.

Changing the mind

If we have to walk across rough and thorny ground, one way of protecting our feet is to cover the whole ground with leather, but this is not very practical. We can achieve the same result in a much simpler way—by covering our feet. Similarly, if we wish to protect ourself  from suffering we can either try to change the whole world to make it conform to our wishes, or we can change our mind. Until now we have been trying to change the world, but this clearly has not worked. Now we need to change our mind.

Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, Eight Steps to Happiness

Everything is as it should be.

An old man was asked, “What is it necessary to do to be saved?”
He was making rope, and without looking up from the work, he replied, “You are looking at it.”

Salvation is an everyday ordinary experience. If Christianity really does proclaim good news, then the good news is that everything is redeemed. Nothing is condemned. All that is left to do is to realize it. No condition of life precludes happiness. No condition of life increases it. For a given individual, making rope is as holy and effective and expressive as any ritual religious act. The simple act of making rope, or washing dishes, or walking to the office, or talking on the phone, does not imply anything other than itself. Nor is it meant to. Everything is as it should be. Give up the search. It is right here. It is obvious.

Gregory Mayers, Listen to the Desert: Secrets of Spiritual Maturity from the Desert Fathers and Mothers