To let things settle

I can hear the rooks and jackdaws busy gathering twigs for their nests in the trees above my window. The Buddha, it is said, was so still in meditation that the birds were able to nest in his hair. Similarly, St Kevin, an early Irish saint, was so calm when praying with his arms outstretched that a blackbird came and built a nest in his hand, laid her eggs and went on to hatch them. Images of how the mind can become steady, settled in the present moment, even in the midst of so much change and ongoing challenges.

Nothing can help you more than a trained mind, not even your loving parents.

The Buddha

We can make our minds
so like still water
that beings gather about us
that they may see,
it may be, their own images,
and live for a moment with a clearer,
perhaps even with a fiercer life
because of our quiet,
our silence.

W.B Yeats, The Celtic Twilight: Faerie and Folklore

Alone and mirrored clear in love’s deep river,
‘To labour and not to seek reward,’ he prays,

A prayer his body makes entirely
For he has forgotten self, forgotten bird
And on the riverbank forgotten the river’s name.

Seamus Heaney, St Kevin and the Blackbird

Statue of Saint Kevin by Timothy P Schmalz at Knock taken from Knock Shrine website

To be still

Every other creature on the face of the Earth knows how to just shut up and sit: a butterfly on a leaf, a cat in front of a fireplace. Even a hummingbird comes to rest sometimes. But humans seem to be constantly on the move all day long. Even during the night we have to dope ourselves just to fall asleep. We seem to have lost the ability of our primitive ancestors to just be still with ourselves. Out of that stillness, our whole life arises.

John Daido Loori, The Eight Gates of Zen: A Program of Zen Training

To be celebrated

A new month dawns. Brighter days. Moving further into Spring…

Once upon a time,
When women were birds,
There was the simple understanding
That to sing at dawn
And to sing at dusk
Was to heal the world through joy.
The birds still remember what we have forgotten,
That the world is meant to be celebrated.

Terry Tempest Williams, born 1955, American writer, educator, conservationist, and activist