One point that Ajahn Sumedho would stress regularly, is that loving things is not the same as liking them. Having kindness for ourselves or for other beings is not the same as liking everything.
We often come a cropper by trying to make ourselves like everything. This is a completely wrong approach. When we taste something that’s bitter and try to force ourselves to believe it’s sweet this is just falsity, it’s just sugaring things over. It doesn’t work. It just makes the bitter even worse….We’re not trying to like everything, rather we’re recognising that everything belongs. Everything is part of nature: the bitter as well as the sweet, the beautiful as well as the ugly, the cruel as well as the kindly. The heart that recognises that fundamentally everything belongs is what I would describe as being the heart of kindness, the essence of kindness.
The season of Advent commences: a period for waiting, for simplifying things and for seeing what is important. To have space for what has not yet come, we need to notice what gets in the way of being still and open.
In an age of speed, I began to think, nothing could be more invigorating than going slow.
In an age of distraction, nothing can feel more luxurious than paying attention.
And in an age of constant movement, nothing is more urgent than sitting still.
Pico Iyer. The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere
The last day of the year in the Christian calendar. Advent starts this evening
How many nights must it take one such as me to learn that we aren’t, after all, made from that bird that flies out of its ashes, that for us as we go up in flames, our one work is to open ourselves, to be the flames?
The basic definition of meditation is “having a steady mind.” In meditation, when your thoughts go up, you don’t go up, and you don’t go down when your thoughts go down. Whether your thoughts are good or bad, exciting or boring, blissful or miserable, you let them be. You don’t accept some and reject others. You have a sense of greater space that encompasses any thought that may arise.
Chögyam Trungpa, Shambala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior
Our psyches, like nature, need periods of rest and regeneration. Some overly positive psychological models have no place for the dips in mood or energy that are a normal part of life and which can be seen in the cycles of nature. We have to learn to not fear those moments when we do not feel completely in control, or when lose our sense of direction for a while.
There are moments in human life when a new page is turned. New interests and tendencies appear which have hitherto received no attention, or there is a sudden change of personality. During the incubation period of such a change we can often observe a loss of conscious energy: the new development has drawn off the energy it needs from consciousness. This lowering of energy can be seen most clearly …in the empty stillness which precedes creative work.