In my life-long impatience, how much I have missed. Last night, washing the dishes, I really looked at my iron frying pan in the dishwater. The light made visible for a moment a tiny rainbow — a light through water revealing all the colors of life. It is so easy to miss the tiny symbols. Finding them is quite different from the business of trying to hatch up big symbolic experiences. It is recognition, not pursuit, of meaning — recognition of the sacramental, of the intersection of the two worlds, breaking through unsought because one is attending.
Helen Luke, 1904 – 1995, Jungian Analyst and writer
Your mind is your greatest treasure. We become so taken up with the world, with having and doing more and more that we come to ignore who we are and forget what we see the world with.
The most powerful way to change your life is to change your mind.
John O’Donohue, The Art of Developing a Beautiful Mind
For a peaceful meditation, we need not to go to the mountains and streams;
When thoughts are quieted down, even fire itself is cool and refreshing.
Extract from poem by Ch’an monk Tu Kou-hao, used as last words by Keizan Jōkin, abbot of Erinji, just before he was burned alive by soldiers in his temple.
Everything you see has its roots
in the unseen world.
The forms may change,
yet the essence remains the same.
Every wondrous sight will vanish,
every sweet word will fade.
But do not be disheartened,
The Source they come from is eternal–
growing, branching out,
giving new life and new joy.
Why do you weep?–
That Source is within you,
and this whole world
is springing up from it.
The Source is full,
its waters are ever-flowing;
Do not grieve,
drink your fill!
Don’t think it will ever run dry —
This is the endless Ocean!
Rumi, A Garden beyond Paradise
Almost all cultures have the notion that there is a judgment when we die. Some kind of accounting has to be made of one’s life. I believe God — and to me “God” is just shorthand for the ineffable divine presence — has only one question for us at the end: “Did you become yourself?” We have a seeded self that begins to germinate at birth. Our true goal in life is to become that self.
There’s an African proverb: “When death finds you, may it find you alive.” Alive means living your own damn life, not the life that your parents wanted, or the life some cultural group or political party wanted, but the life that your own soul wants to live. That’s the way to evaluate whether you are an authentic person or not.
Michael Meade, Your Own Damn Life
One day we’ll lie down and not get up.
One day, all we guard will be surrendered.
Until then, we’ll go on learning to recognize
what we love, and what it takes
to tend what isn’t for our having.
So often, fear has led me
to abandon what I know I must relinquish
in time. But for the moment,
I’ll listen to her dream,
and she to mine, our mutual hearing calling
more and more detail into the light
of a joint and fragile keeping.
Li-Young Lee, To Hold (extract)