When we seek happiness through accumulation, either outside of ourselves – from other people, relationships, or material goods – or from our own self-development, we are missing the essential point. In either case we are trying to find completion. But according to Buddhism, such a strategy is doomed.
Completion comes not from adding another piece to ourselves but from surrendering our ideas of perfection.
Mark Epstein, Going to Pieces without Falling Apart: A Buddhist Perspective on Wholeness
One of the sad things today is that so many people are frightened by the wonder of their own presence. They are dying to tie themselves into a system, a role, or to an image, or to a predetermined identity that other people have actually settled on for them. This identity may be totally at variance with the wild energies that are rising inside in their souls. Many of us get very afraid and we eventually compromise. We settle for something that is safe, rather than engaging the danger and the wildness that is in our own hearts. A man in Connemara said one time to a friend of mine, ‘Beidh muid sínte siar cúig mhilliúin blain déag faoin chré’ – “We’ll be lying down in the earth for about fifteen million years” – and we have a short exposure. I feel that when you recognize that death is on its way, it is a great liberation, because it means that you can in some way feel the call to live everything that is within you. One of the greatest sins is the unlived life, not to allow yourself to become chief executive of the project you call your life, to have a reverence always for the immensity that is inside of you.
John O Donohue, Walking in Wonder: Eternal Wisdom for a Modern World
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,
but by the moments that take our breath away.
Who ever becomes a good rider by talking about horses?
If you wish to embody the Tao,
stop chattering and start practicing.
The Huahujing, attributed to Lao Tzu.
Aeschylus says, “There is no effort in what is divine.” There is an easiness in salvation which is more difficult to us than all our efforts.
In one of Grimm’s stories there is a competition between a giant and a little tailor to see which is the stronger. The giant throws a stone so high that it takes a very long time before it comes down again. The little tailor lets a bird fly and it does not come down at all. Anything without wings always comes down again in the end.
Simone Weil, Waiting on God
I do not know what gorgeous thing
the bluebird keeps saying,
his voice easing out of his throat,
beak, body into the pink air
of the early morning. I like it
whatever it is. Sometimes
it seems the only thing in the world
that is without dark thoughts.
Sometimes it seems the only thing
in the world that is without
questions that can’t and probably
never will be answered, the
only thing that is entirely content
with the pink, then clear white
morning and, gratefully, says so.
Mary Oliver, What Gorgeous Thing