Last Sunday, my friends and I spoke about the gift of learning to observe ourselves impartially. We spoke of using the constantly changing flow of sensory feeling in the body — keeping it simple, just knowing pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral in the body. Breaking our experience down in this way — sunlight, pleasant, shadow, unpleasant – can help us glimpse the flowing, changing nature of our experience. But turning our attention to the moment-by-moment experience of the life of body can accomplish something much greater. It can help free us from an obsessive identification with a small, embattled self. It can be the key to living a much bigger life — a good life in the deepest sense.
Tracy Cochran, Pay Attention, for Goodness Sake
Happiness and the cause of happiness can arise only through loving-kindness and insight into the nature of things. There is no other way.
Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche
On this ever-revolving wheel of being
The individual self goes round and round
Through life after life, believing itself
To be a separate creature – until
It sees its identity with the Lord of Love
And attains immortality in the indivisible Whole.
The Shvetashvatara Upanishad , ancient Sanskrit text, c 5th Century BCE
Just for a little while, stop thinking about all the problems, crises, tasks. everything that’s pulling and pushing on us.
Be in that quiet space.
After all these years, some of us still need permission to let go.
Today is the Autumn Equinox, which is celebrated as a public holiday in Japan.
Imitate the trees.
Learn to lose in order to recover,
and remember that nothing stays the same for long,
not even pain.
May Sarton, 1912 – 1995, Belgian-American poet and novelist.
When life does not in any way add up, we must turn to the part of us that has never wanted a life of simple calculation. To be consoled is to be invited into the terrible ground of beauty upon which our inevitable disappearance stands, to a voice that does not soothe falsely, but touches the epicenter of our pain or articulates the essence of our loss, and then emancipates us into the privilege of both life and death as equal birthrights.
Solace is a direct seeing and participation; a celebration of the beautiful coming and going, appearance and disappearance of which we have always been a part. Solace is not meant to be an answer, but an invitation, through the door of pain and difficulty, to the depth of suffering and simultaneous beauty in the world that the strategic mind by itself cannot grasp nor make sense of.