Is it the bowl that rolls around the pearl,
or is it the pearl that rolls around the bowl?
Is it the weather that is cold,
or is it the person who is cold?
Think neither cold nor heat — at that moment, where is the self to be found?
Dogen (1200 – 1253) commentary on Dongshan’s (807–869) koan “Cold and Heat”
Spring has started early in Ireland with some days very mild, blossoms already on the trees and daffodils in full bloom. However, everyday is different and today is forecast wet and windy. A weather that is always in motion, hot and cold…
Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche said “there is no cure for hot and cold”. He meant that our lives have periods of good things and bad, things may go well but we still have self-doubt. Our minds seem to be always in motion – a succession of thoughts and emotions, good intentions and petty thoughts, kindness followed by self-seeking.
Pema Chodron used the phrase to encourage us not to struggle but rather relax into life as it is. In this way, we not only can stop the complaining that goes on in our mind, but also be pleasantly surprised by what the weather of a day blows into our lives:
The way to dissolve our resistance to life is to meet it face to face. When we feel resentment because the room is too hot, we could meet the heat and feel its fieriness and its heaviness. When we feel resentment because the room is too cold, we could meet the cold and feel its iciness and its bite. When we want to complain about the rain, we could feel its wetness instead. When we worry because the wind is shaking our windows, we could meet the wind and hear its sound. Cutting our expectations for a cure is a gift we can give ourselves. There is no cure for hot and cold. They will go on forever.
Having a spiritual life doesn’t mean striving to stop the rain from falling or keeping our hearts from breaking. It means letting go of our resistance and wilful separation. It means taking our place in the greater whole of life. This surrender tends to happen in moments of loss but also sometimes in moments of great love or moments when we have been spared. In those moments it’s natural to say or inwardly feel “Thy will be done,” I surrender, opening to the rain and the sun and all that will come, knowing that we and life is more than we think we are.
Tracy Cochran, The Golden Ticket
photo : gorkaazk
We like to think that we are in control and directing things…
Let go of all your assumptions
And the world will make perfect sense
Different thoughts come to my mind prompted by these words of Rumi.
One says simply: Give up the worrying chatter of the week and take some rest in silence this weekend. Another says: Words are just inadequate to say what things or people mean to you. A third says: Your heart knows better than your thinking mind. Let go and follow it.
What do they say to you?
Inside me a hundred beings are putting their fingers to their lips and saying,
“That’s enough for now. Shhhhh.”
Silence is an ocean. Speech is a river.
When the ocean is searching for you, don’t walk
to the language-river.
Listen to the ocean,
and bring your talky business to an end.
Rumi, Send the Chaperones Away
Our suffering is caused by holding on to how things might have been,
should have been,
could have been.
February has begun rainy and very wild and windy here in Ireland. I am reminded of how Ryokan worked with the mental energies, thoughts, feelings and moods which passed through his body-mind. We can learn a lot from these monks on how to work in a practical way with our daily experience:
Not being so attached to our facts, or even our “alternative facts”, and how to let go of certain types of thoughts which are just not important.
If someone asks about
the mind of this monk,
say it is no more than a passage of wind
in the vast sky.
Ryokan, 1758 – 1831, Buddhist monk, hermit and poet.