Serenity

He knows how to enjoy the fullness of each moment, as his own mind is serene and at peace. There is a sufficiency in the things around him

At Nantai I sit quietly with an incense burning,

One day of contentment, all things are forgotten,

Not that my mind is stopped and thoughts are put away,

But that there is really nothing to disturb my serenity.

Shou-an , quoted in Suzuki, Essays in Zen Buddhism – First Series 

The secret

The ridicule or praise of  people means nothing
This is an old truth; Don’t think it was discovered recently.
“I want this, I want that”
Is nothing but foolishness.
I’ll tell you a secret:
All things are impermanent.

Ryoken, 1758–1831,  Zen Buddhist monk and poet

 

Allowing the waves

In meditation, you are supposed to closely observe your mind and body, witness the ceaseless arising and passing of all your feelings, and realise how pointless it is to pursue them. When the pursuit stops, the mind becomes very relaxed, clear and satisfied. All kinds of feelings go on arising and passing – joy, anger, boredom, lust – but once you stop craving particular feelings, you can just accept them for what they are. You live in the present moment instead of fantasising about what might have been. The resulting serenity is so profound that those who spend their lives in the frenzied pursuit of pleasant feelings can hardly imagine it. It is like a man standing for decades on the seashore, embracing certain ‘good’ waves and trying to prevent them from disintegrating, while simultaneously pushing back ‘bad’ waves to prevent them from getting near him. Day in, day out, the man stands on the beach, driving himself crazy with this fruitless exercise. Eventually, he sits down on the sand and just allows the waves to come and go as they please. How peaceful!

Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind