What thoughts

As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.

Henry David Thoreau

When thinking doesn’t help

Think of a problem that has plagued you for a long time — your weight, a loved one’s bad habits, fear of terrorism, whatever. No doubt you’ve tried valiantly to control this issue, but are your efforts working? The answer has to be no; otherwise you would have solved the problem long ago. What if your real trouble isn’t the issue you brood about so compulsively, but the brooding itself.

Martha Beck, Victory by Surrender, Creating your right life

Don’t invite them to stay

Not only is life always in movement, but the mind is also.

So, in meditation as in life, how to deal with negative thoughts and difficult feeling states…

In zazen [meditation], leave your front door and your back door open.

Let thoughts come and go.

Just don’t serve them tea.

Shunryu Suzuki

Don’t let passing things get under your skin

We cannot always control what happens in a day, but we can control how it affects us:

Just like a drop of water on a lotus leaf,

or in the same way as water on a red lily does not stick,

so too a wise person does not get hooked by

the seen, the heard, the sensed

The Buddha, Jara Sutra: Old Age

photo H.Zell

Morning rituals

File:Ceremonial Tea in Japan.jpg

In our daily activities we often get caught up in a rush from one thing to the next. The morning is a good time to develop slow habits where we can pause and reflect, before the activities of the day begin. In the cup of tea we take time for ourselves. We can pause, and as Tuesday’s post said, hear the song and remember the lake:

In my own hands I hold a bowl of tea;

I see all of nature represented in its green color.

Closing my eyes I find green mountains and pure water within my own heart.

Silently sitting alone and drinking tea, I feel these become part of me

Soshitsu Sen XIV, 1893-1964, Japanese Tea Master

photo hyougushi