Maintaining an underlying confidence

If you get into agreeable circumstances, then shine through agreeable circumstances. If you fall into adverse situations, then shine through adverse situations. When greed or desire arise, shine through greed and desire; when hatred or anger arise, shine through hatred and anger; when you act out of ignorance, shine through ignorance. When the three poisons of hatred, greed, and ignorance are not more, and the mind is pure, shine through that pure mind. At all times, in all places, be it desires, senses, gain, loss, right, wrong…..in all things shine through with your whole body

Hakuin,  1686 – 1769, On Kensho, The Four Ways of Knowing

Essential and non essential

Each person naturally receives his allotted share in his life.

He need not concentrate on it, he need not search for it; the allotted portion is there.

You may rush around in search of riches, but what happens if death suddenly comes?

You should clear their minds of these non-essential things and concentrate on studying the Way.

Dogen, Shobogenzo Zuimonki

Being content

When you have no desire,  everything is sufficient.
But when always seeking, then a lot of things seem impoverished.

However, plain vegetables can soothe hunger.
A patched robe is enough to cover this bent old body.
Alone,  I hike with a deer. Cheerfully I sing with village children.
The stream beneath the cliff cleanses my ears.
The pine on the mountain top fills my heart.

Ryokan, 1758–1831

Getting out of the way

Bernie Glassman, a Zen teacher, has a practice called ‘Bearing Witness.’ You go into a hard, complex situation with the mind of not knowing, of having no idea or opinion, and instead, feel, listen, and be in the actual situation, becoming one with it. This nonjudgmental state of mind can position you so that you might be able to find a way to help, not out of your own need to make something better so that you feel better or in order to alleviate your own fear, but so that you act when empty of yourself. You get yourself out of the way.

Natalie Goldberg, The True Secret of Writing: Connecting Life with Language