Create a space

Consider the “forest pool” metaphor so popular in Buddhism. After inclement weather, the pool is muddy, full of sediment and debris. We cannot clear it by trying to control the contents – that would make the pool worse. We can only wait for all the sediment to settle to the bottom, leaving the pool clear again. So in meditation, by concentrating on the breath or our body or on sounds we can hear in the present moment, we create a space for clarity. We often find that in this spaciousness, an answer to a problem will simply “pop up” to the surface. Sometimes it won’t, but our bodies will thank us for a break from all the worrying.

Sarah Napthali, Stewing

To be peace

When you are feeling overwhelmed, you’re trying too hard.

That kind of energy does not help the other person and it does not help you. You should not be too eager to help right away. There are two things, to be and to do. Don’t think too much about to do – to be is first. To be peace. To be joy. And then to do joy, to do happiness – on the basis of being. Being fresh. Being peaceful. Being compassionate. This is the basic practice. It’s like a person sitting at the foot of a tree. The tree does not have to do anything, but the tree is fresh and alive. When you are like that tree, sending out waves of freshness, you help to calm down the suffering in the other person.

Thich Nhat Hanh, Be Beautiful, Be yourself

Being content

Why cannot we be content with the secret gift of happiness that is offered to us, without consulting the rest of the world? 

Why do we insist rather on a happiness that is approved by magazines and TV?

Perhaps because we do not believe in a happiness that is given to us for nothing? We do not think we can be happy with a happiness that has no price tag on it.

Thomas Merton

The good as well as the bad

To be grateful for the good things that happen in our lives is easy, but to be grateful for all our lives—the good as well as the bad, the moments of joy as well as the moments of sorrow, the successes as well as the failures, the rewards as well as the rejections—that requires hard spiritual work.

Still, we are only truly grateful people when we can say thank you to all that has brought us to the present moment.

Henri Nouwen