Our hermitage is the act of living with attention in the midst of things; amid the rhythms of work and love, the bath with the child, the endlessly growing paperwork, the ever-present likelihood of war, the necessity for taking action to help the world. For us, a good spiritual life is permeable and robust. It faces things squarely, knowing the smallest moments are all we have, and that even the smallest moment is full of happiness.
[Even some] lovely people feel that their real identity is working on themselves, and some work on themselves with such harshness. Like a demented gardener who won’t let the soil settle for anything to grow, they keep raking, tearing away the nurturing clay from their own heart, then they’re surprised that they feel so empty and vacant. Self-compassion is paramount. When you are compassionate with yourself, you trust in your soul, which you let guide your life. Your soul knows the geography of your destiny better than you do.
May all beings be happy. May they be joyous and live in safety. All living beings, whether weak or strong, in high or middle, or low realms of existence, small or great, visible or invisible, near or far, born or to be born, May all beings be happy. Let none deceive another nor despise any being in any state; let none by anger or hatred wish harm to another.
Even as a mother at the risk of her life watches over and protects her only child, so with a boundless mind should one cherish all living things, suffusing love over the entire world, above, below, and all around without limit; so let each cultivate an infinite goodwill toward the whole world.
As long as we are breathing, there are infinite possibilities.
A good starting point is with a question: What if I completely let go of the fear body and were released from the gloomy future it predicted?And then another question: In the absence of fear what would I want my life to be about? And then another: In the absence of fear, what would motivate me toward that life?
As we ask these questions and feel the resistance they provoke, we begin to recognize how hypnotized we are by the fear body. Recognizing our own neurosis is the beginning of freedom.
Tim Burkett, Nothing Holy About it, The Zen of Being Just Who You Are
Strong winds are predicted for this weekend, the tail-end of an Atlantic storm…
Time and again I was seeing that if I could handle the winds of the current storm, they would end up blowing in some great gift… Challenging situations create the force needed to bring about change. The problem is that we generally use all the stirred up energy intended to bring about change, to resist change. I was learning to sit quietly in the midst of the howling winds and wait to see what constructing action was being asked of me.
Weakness is at the heart of each one of us. Weakness becomes a place of chaos and confusion, if in our weakness we are not wanted; it becomes a place of peace and joy, if we are accepted, listened to, appreciated and loved.
Some people are infuriated by weakness. Weakness awakens hardness and anger in them. But to deny weakness as part of life is to deny death, because weakness speaks to us of the ultimate powerlessness, of death itself. To be small, to be sick, to be dying, are stages of powerless, they appear to us to be anti-life and so we deny them.
If we deny our weakness and the reality of death, if we want to be powerful and strong always, we deny part of our being, we live an illusion. To be human is to accept who we are, this mixture of strength and weakness.