What if

What if you stepped into the shower
each morning only to be baptized anew
and sent forth to serve the grocery bagger,
the bank teller, and the bus driver
through simple kindness?
And what if the things that make
your heart dizzy with delight were
no longer stuffed into the basement
of your being and allowed out to play
in the lush and green fields?

There are two ways to live in this world:
As if everything were enchanted
or nothing at all.
There is no in between, although you
keep trying to live this divided life knowing
deep down something is awry.
You have lived long enough
with this tearing apart.
Come out into the wide world
and discover there companions and guides
at every turn, and even those who summon
curses from your heart have
a divine spark within them bright enough
to invite wonder.

Christine Valters Paintner, To Invite Wonder

Our one inch-square heart

 

Fall floods have washed away the planks of the bridge;
shouldering our sandals, we wade the narrow stream.
I dabble in the flow, delighted by the shallowness of the stream,
admiring how firm the stones are.
The point in life is to know what’s enough –
why envy those otherworld immortals?
With the happiness held in one inch-square heart
you can fill the whole space between heaven and earth.

Gensei, Japanese monk and poet, 
1623―1668

Simplify

I want to learn how to walk down the ladder gracefully. 

I have this image – I would like to get smaller and smaller in a relevant way.

Carly Simon, on what she learned from dealing with cancer and other life setbacks, quoted in Sara Davidson, The First Day of the Rest of My Life

Inner Strength

At one point in the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says, “I am the Self hidden in the heart.” He’s referring to one of the deepest pieces of wisdom in the yoga tradition: the teaching that in our own bodies, in the subtle center called the heart, we can tune in to our true Self, the part of us that isn’t confused about what life is all about. That Presence is the “me”  and the great source of true refuge.

The mystic poet Kabir speaks of this Presence as “the breath inside the breath.” His point is that it’s always closer than you think. Once you’ve learned how to tune in to Presence, you have a refuge that you can turn to at any time, even in the middle of a stressful business meeting or an argument with your spouse. One way to tune in to Presence right now is to focus on the space in and around your body. Inhale and exhale, feeling that. With the inhalation, you breathe that space in through your pores; as you exhale, you breathe it out. After a while, you should become aware of a subtle, delicate energy that is both inside your body and around it. According to the yoga tradition, this is Presence — and it is close to you at all times.

Sally Kempton, How to Find More Calm — Even When Life Feels Craziest

Applying the lessons of autumn

 

We all carry these interior lists and shoulds…

Dropping all we carry – all our preconceptions, our interior lists of the ways we’ve failed and the ways we’ve been wronged, all the secret burdens we work at maintaining – dropping all regret and expectations lets our mentality die. Dropping all we have constructed as imperative allows us to be born again into the simplicity of spirit that arises from unencumbered being

Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening