It is sometimes through times of testing that we come to know what endures.
The Zen student, the poet, the husband, the wife — none knows with certainty what he or she is staying for, but all know the likelihood that they will be staying “a while”: to find out what they are staying for. And it is the faith of all of these disciplines that they will not stay to find that they should not have stayed. That faith has nothing to do with what is usually called optimism. The faith, rather, is that by staying, and only by staying, we will learn something of the truth, that the truth is good to know, and that it is always both different and larger than we thought.
How can you reach a pearl by only looking at the sea?
If you seek the pearl, be a diver:
the diver needs several qualities: he must trust his rope and his life to the friend’s hand,
he must stop breathing,
and he must jump.
See how the flesh grows back
across a wound, with a great vehemence,
than the simple, untested surface before.
Jane Hirshfield, For What Binds Us
A different way of seeing the challenges in life, and maybe a more helpful way of looking at the slow diversions which life obliges us to take:
Une difficulte est une lumiere. Une difficulte insurmontable est un soleil. Paul Valery
(A difficulty is a light; an insurmountable difficulty is a sun)
We tend to perceive difficulty as disturbance. Ironically, difficulty can be a great friend of creativity… I love these lines from Paul Valery: this is a completely different way of considering the awkward, the uneven, and the difficult. Deep within us, there is a terrible impulse and drive toward perfection. We want everything flattened into one shape. We do not like unexpected shapes… The imagination in its loyalty to possibility often takes the curved path rather than the linear way. Such risk and openness inherit the harvest of creativity, beauty and spirit.
John O’Donohue Anam Chara
I sit before flowers
hoping they will train me in the art
of opening up
Shane Koyczan, 22 May 1976, Canadian poet and writer
photo katrina wiese
Heaven and Earth give themselves.
Air, water, plants, animals, and humans give themselves to each other.
It is in this giving-themselves-to-each-other that we actually live.
Whether you appreciate it or not, it is true.
Kodo Sawaki, 1880 – 1965, Japanese Sōtō Zen teacher