You make the waves

Very stormy weather in Ireland this past week, continuing overnight with heavy rain.  The Eastern tradition called the causes of emotional pain ‘worldly winds’: gusts of blame and loss, happiness and unhappiness. They blow through the heart and throw us off balance, making us feel that we never feel good enough where we are or how our life actually is:

Nothing outside yourself can cause any trouble.

You yourself make the waves in your mind.

If you leave your mind as it is, it will become calm.

This mind is called big mind.

Shunryu Suzuki

The weather forecast

In Ireland we love talking about the weather, especially over a Bank Holiday weekend, as if Nature should have known to provided sunshine for our few days. Sometimes it can be a way of avoiding conversations with a real connection, but it can be a way of working with something which is always changing, in a country that has four seasons in an hour.

I never read weather forecasts. As soon as I read one, tomorrow is clouded for me, even if it is sunshine that’s predicted. A part of me is making plans, or second-guessing the heavens; a part of me is saying, “I should be able to get in a second walk tomorrow, though by Sunday night it’s going to be cold again.” When it turns out different, as it often will, all my thinking is in vain. 

It isn’t that weather forecasts mess with my mind. It’s that the mind is so ready to mess with everything it touches — to make theories around it, to draw fanciful conclusions from it, to play distorting games of projection and miscalculation — that even the elements are not safe from it. It has a supreme gift, I’ve found, for complicating the simple and muddying what could and should be transparent. It can take the tiniest detail and turn it into a drama or a universe of needless speculation. Most times I dread a coming moment, the moment never comes. It’s not the world that I need to change, I see, but the mayhem that my overactive mind makes of the world.

Pico Iyer, The Folly of the Weather Forecast

 

Sunday Quote: Seeing what is important

A quiet Sunday in a long weekend, with some gone away or starting holidays. When we stop running we come to see what really matters

What in your life is Calling you,
When all the noise is silenced,
The meetings adjourned..
The lists laid aside,
And the Wild Iris blooms
By itself
In the dark forest…
What still pulls on your Soul?

Rumi

Metaphors to live by

Spring is a metaphor for transitions. It moves from lifelessness to life and we move from lifelessness to life in each cycle of breathing. If we know change is going to occur we are in a better place to accept it. If we expect things to stay constant we are vulnerable to frustration, disappointment, and resistance.

Spring is also a metaphor for forgiveness. Whatever happened in the last season, life begins anew with no carryover resentment from the past. Spring reminds us, as Pema Chodron says, to start where we are.

Spring shows us the cycle of living and dying on a bigger scale do. Everything comes into being and goes out of being — changing its form.  Spring invites us not to become attached to things, even the most precious things in our life. The invitation is to love things wholeheartedly with the awareness that they will not be with us forever. And, indeed, we, ourselves, will not be here forever. The invitation is to not be afraid to grieve when that grief becomes necessary. Grief is, at times, the admission price to the present moment.

So welcome spring and your multifaceted metaphors for mindful living!

Arnie Kozak, on Beliefnet

In this ordinary life

On Sunday during his sermon in Bolton Abbey,  Fr Michael said that an awareness of goodness can strike at any moment, cutting through our complacency and reminding us that, deep down, there is wonder at the heart of our experience, even  when we struggle and cannot see it.  He saw it in the tender care of a cow for its new-born calf. Merton saw it in the swallows flight:

There are days when I am convinced that Heaven starts already, now, in this ordinary life, just as it is, in all its incompleteness, yet, this is where Heaven starts. See within yourself, if you can find it. I walked through the field in front of the house, lots of swallows flying, everywhere! Some very near me. It was magical.

We are already one, yet we know it not

Thomas Merton,