Let things pass.

As a new month is about to begin….

If I had to sum up [meditation] practice in three words, without hesitation, I’d go for “Let things pass.”

In the midst of chaos or deep in one’s inner battlefields, dare to make the experiment of not controlling, of dropping the self. It’s mayhem, but there’s no problem! Far from giving up and far from resignation, letting things pass means distinguishing between the psychodramas (the problems created by conceptual mind) and the genuine tragedies of existence, which call for solidarity, commitment, and perseverance.

Meditating is stripping down, daring to live nakedly in order to give oneself, contributing to the welfare of the world, giving one’s share. Why don’t we look at the day that lies ahead of us not as a store where we can acquire things, but as a clinic, a dispensary of the soul, where together we can recover and advance?

Alexandre Jollien, 1975 – Swiss philosopher and writer


Being preoccupied with ourselves is like being deaf and blind.

It’s like standing in the middle of a vast field of wildflowers with a black hood over our heads.

It’s like coming upon a tree of singing birds while wearing earplugs.

Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times 


It is not an easy or automatic thing to be fully at ease in the place or moment we are in our lives….

My favorite poem from David Wagoner is “Lost” :

Stand still, the trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger.

The truth of this poem is an old truth. There are the places you wish to go, there are the places you desperately wish you never left, there are the places you imagine you should be, and there is the place called here. In the world of Wagoner’s poem, it is the rooted things – trees and bushes – that tell the truth to the person who is lost, the person with legs and fear who wishes to be elsewhere. The person must stand still, feel their body on the ground where they are, in order to learn the wisdom. This is not easy wisdom, it is frightening wisdom. 

In Irish, there is a phrase “ar eagla na heaglab” that translates as “for fear of fear.” It is true that there are some things that we fear, but that there is, even deeper, a fear of fear. So we are prevented from being here not only by being frightened of certain places but by the fear of being frightened of certain places. So “stand still” the poet advises. Learn from the things that are already in the place where you wish you were not.

Hello to the fear of fear
Hello to here ..

Padraig O’Tuama, in his lovely book, In the Shelter: Finding a Home in the World

Our chance selves

For intervals, then, throughout our lives
we savor a concurrence, the great blending
of our chance selves with what sustains
all chance.

We ride the wave and are
the wave.

And with renewed belief
inner and outer we find our talk
turned to prayer, our prayer into truth:
for an interval, early, we become at home in the world.

William Stafford