Earth stuff and star stuff

The practice of cultivating a loving and kind attitude towards ourselves and others, is not a self-improvement technique but an act of quiet daring. As we let down our habitual guard, as we soften and relax, allowing ourselves to loosen the grip of the thoughts and fears that haunt us, we remember the life is here, quietly offering itself to us in this very moment. We remember that we inhabit bodies that come to us from ancestors who endured and overcame much. We remember our deep connection to the earth and also to the stars. We are made of earth stuff and star stuff.

Tracy Cochran

Fat with Blessing

A small green island where one white cow lives alone,

a meadow of an island.

The cow grazes till nightfall, full and fat,

but during the night she panics

and grows thin as a single hair. “What shall I eat

tomorrow? There’s nothing left!”

By dawn, the grass has grown up again, waist-high.

The cow starts eating and by dark the meadow is clipped short.

She’s full of strength and energy, but she panics

in the dark as before, and grows abnormally thin overnight.

The cow does this over and over, and this is all she does.

She never thinks, “This meadow has never failed

to grow back. Why should I be afraid every night that it won’t?”

The cow is the soul. The island field is this world where

that grows lean with fear and fat with blessing.

Lean or fat.

White cow, don’t make yourself miserable

with what is to come, or not to come.

Rumi

Not who we are

The transformation of fear does not mean that we no longer have fearful responses. It means that we no longer believe that those responses are who we are. This is what practice is about: learning to stop believing that our deep-seated reactivity is who we are. Who we really are is much bigger than any of our fear-based conditioned responses. When we can really experience fear, we can see through this false identification, perhaps even glimpsing a vaster sense of Being.

Ezra Bayda, Being Zen

Endless winding beauty

Stop now, right now, and look around you. This is your place in the labyrinth. There is no place else you need to be. See with eyes that aren’t fixed on goals, or focused on flaws. You are part of the endless, winding beauty. And as you learn to see the dappled loveliness of your life, as your new eyes help you begin loving the labyrinth, you’ll slowly come to realize that the labyrinth was made solely for the purpose of loving you. 

Martha Beck