Not resisting change

Strong winds are predicted for this weekend, the tail-end of an Atlantic storm…

Time and again I was seeing that if I could handle the winds of the current storm, they would end up blowing in some great gift… Challenging situations create the force needed to bring about change. The problem is that we generally use all the stirred up energy intended to bring about change, to resist change. I was learning to sit quietly in the midst of the howling winds and wait to see what constructing action was being asked of me.

Michael SInger, The Surrender Project

Something is always far away.

We treat desire as a problem to be solved, address what desire is for and focus on that something and how to acquire it,  rather than on the nature and the sensation of desire……. I wonder sometimes whether with a slight adjustment of perspective it could be cherished as a sensation on its own terms, since it is as inherent to the human condition as blue is to distance? If you can look across the distance without wanting to close it up, if you can own your longing in the same way that you own the beauty of that blue that can never be possessed? For something of this longing will, like the blue of distance, only be relocated, not assuaged, by acquisition and arrival, just as the mountains cease to be blue when you arrive among them and the blue instead tints the next beyond. Somewhere in this is the mystery of why tragedies are more beautiful than comedies and why we take a huge pleasure in the sadness of certain songs and stories. Something is always far away.

Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost

Sunday Quote: Trust the process

La ruta nos aportó otro paso natural.

The path provides the natural next step.

Spanish palindrome – reading the same backwards as forwards.  It is on the subject of pilgrimage or life’s journey , which, as we walk, returns us to our origins


Some of these old teachings are very beautiful. The fundamental insight is that we are always whole and alive, even right in the midst of difficulties. We thus loosen our identification with our story as something solid, as a permanent sense of agitation, weakness or illness.

A monk asked, “How can a person escape from birth, old age, sickness and death?”

Lingyun replied, “The green mountain is fundamentally unmoving,

But the floating clouds pass back and forth”

(Little is known of Lingyun Zhiqin, a disciple of Chinese Zen Master Guishan Lingyou (771 – 853). “Birth, old age, sickness and death” are shorthand for all the difficulties of life and its overall unsatisfactory nature).

Seeking awe in the ordinary

A dreary rainy day here in Ireland, after weeks of sunshine. The temptation is to keep ones head down, moving quickly from place to place. However,  positive emotions are linked to paying attention and appreciating whatever is around us –  grey or bright – noticing the small details in every moment.

God and the sacred, the enchanted and the luminous, are not “over there” somewhere. They are all right here, where we are.  May we get back to the ordinary, the breath by breath, and the living in each moment fully. Inhabiting each moment and seeking the wonder therein. The refusal to let life descend down to a cycle of the mundane, the insistence of seeking awe in the ordinary  –  this is the beginning of spiritual life.

This is the wisdom of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, among so many others, who said “Indifference to the sublime wonder of living is the root of sin”

Sin, for Heschel, is ultimately not about eating this or not eating that, praying in this temple or that temple, but a losing of that sublime wonder of being truly alive. That is the ultimate sin, the only sin. Yes, there are religious commandments to observe. But the goal of religion remains to cultivate that sense of wonder, awe, and radical amazement.

Omid Safi, The Spirituality of the Ordinary Is Luminous