No destination in mind

The mark of a moderate man
is freedom from his own ideas.
Tolerant like the sky,
all-pervading like sunlight,
firm like a mountain,
supple like a tree in the wind,
he has no destination in view
and makes use of anything
life happens to bring his way.

Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, 59, translated Stephen Mitchell 

Comparing and complaining

The comparing mind frequently takes us away from the unique form of our own life …

One morning the teacher announced to his disciples that they would walk to the top of the mountain. The disciples were surprised because even those who had been with him for years thought the teacher was oblivious to the mountain which looked serenely down on their town.

By midday it became apparent that the teacher had lost direction. Moreover, no provision had been made for food. The disciples grumbled but he continued walking, sometimes through underbrush and sometimes across crumbling rock.

When they reached the summit in the late afternoon, they found other wanderers there ahead of them who had strolled up a well-worn path.

The disciples complained to the teacher. He only said, “Those others have climbed a different mountain.”

From James Carse, Breakfast at the Victory: The Mysticism of Everyday Life

A new month

Be passionate about some part of the natural and/or human worlds and take risks on its behalf, no matter how vulnerable they make you. No one ever died saying, “I’m sure glad for the self-centered, self-serving and self-protective life I lived.”

Offer yourself to the world — your energies, your gifts, your visions, your heart — with open-hearted generosity. But understand that when you live that way you will soon learn how little you know and how easy it is to fail.

To grow in love and service, you — I, all of us — must value ignorance as much as knowledge and failure as much as success… Clinging to what you already know and do well is the path to an unlived life. So, cultivate beginner’s mind, walk straight into your not-knowing, and take the risk of failing and falling again and again, then getting up again and again to learn — that’s the path to a life lived large, in service of love, truth, and justice.

Parker Palmer, The Six Pillars of the Wholehearted Life, Commencement Address,  Naropa University