The wisdom that arises from mindfulness makes space for the sense of self to be and not to be.
Not believing any one these fleeting identities to be who we really are, we release being concerned about any of it. In fact, we sit back and watch the whole show like an amused grandmother, quietly watching over the antics of her grandchildren. This is the profound peace we are so busy searching for. It does not come from creating and perfecting our personality.
Freedom comes when we see through the machinations of “self” and cease to be bothered by or believe any of it.
Mark Coleman, From Suffering to Peace: The True Promise of Mindfulness
When we are willing to be intimate with what actually is here now, to look directly at all of our experience, we might recognize that this is our life, however different from our thoughts and ideas about it. It is as if we hunker down and actually get very real, recognizing that our thoughts of gaining and losing, good and bad, happy and sad, are what distance us from ourselves.
Once Dongshan was asked, ‘What is the deepest truth? What is the wisdom that liberates?’
His response was, ‘I am always close to this.’
It is the closeness itself – the intimacy with what is here with us now – that is the truth that liberates us.
Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara, Most Intimate: A Zen Approach to Life’s Challenges
The sense of unworthiness, it seems, comes out of our being talked out of, trained out of, conditioned out of trusting our natural being. It is the result of being turned away from ourselves, taught to distrust ourselves. We are worthy of letting go of our unworthiness. If we did nothing but practice letting go of unworthiness, much of the stuff we’re working so hard to clear away would have no support system. We would have more room to grow. Consciously we surrender unworthiness as it arises, not entertaining it with the ego’s list of credits. the work which will awaken us is that of becoming keenly aware of unworthiness without judging it.
Stephen Levine, A Gradual Awakening
Fear is the cheapest room in the house.
I would like to see you living in better conditions.
J. Krishnamurti, the great Indian philosopher and spiritual teacher, spoke and travelled almost continually all over the world for more than fifty years attempting to convey through words…that which is beyond words. At one of his talks in the later part of his life, he surprised his audience by asking, “Do you want to know my secret?”
Everyone became very alert. Many people in the audience had been coming to listen to him for twenty or thirty years and still failed to grasp the essence of his teaching. Finally, after all these years, the master would give them the key to understanding.
“This is my secret,” he said. “I don’t mind what happens.”
Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth – Awakening to your Life’s Purpose’
The most prophetic thing Thomas Merton ever did was to say to a Louisville shopkeeper who asked him what brand of toothpaste he preferred, “I don’t care”. Merton was intrigued and troubled by the store clerk’s response. “He almost dropped dead” he wrote, “I was supposed to feel strongly about Colgate or Pepsodent or something with five colours. And they all have a secret ingredient. But I didn’t care about the secret ingredient ….the worst thing you can do now is not care about these things”
This not-caring attitude is important to hold onto these days and still prophetic, because the ultimate goal of the marketer is to have us see consumer products not as mere things, but as keys to our identity. Brands are marks that owners out on their property, often by painful means, and we are in perilous territory when our self-image, and even our self-worth, is founded on which brands and labels we can afford to purchase and display.
Kathleen Norris, The Secret Ingredient