When you get the hang of being more interested in life than in agreeing with your thoughts, then you will get the life you get. And you will be able to have as much happiness as you want with almost no effort whatsoever. When you stop believing your thoughts, you look around just for you, just because it is interesting to look around. Some people call that enlightenment. But you won’t call it that. You’ll be too interested in the new view.
John Tarrant, The Paradox of Happiness
When we practice meditation …. we are instructed to look at ourselves as directly as possible. My own experience tells me that when I look into my mirror, into my biography, the set of stories that I tell myself to explain who I am to myself, I can find all kinds of terrible things: some of them done to me, some done by me. I can use these elements to judge myself and others harshly. On the other side, I tend to ignore all the evidence from my memories of my past when I behaved or was treated in a loving and helpful way.
But whether we call the remembered events that constitute our personal biography horrible or wonderful, the incessant judgment of the self is a habit that leads nowhere. Instead, the instruction, again and again, is to see through the self as some kind of permanent object, something to be judged or loved, and to see how the elements of the self are actually constructions. True freedom, alignment with reality, comes from seeing through the self-construction, not abandoning it, but not treating it like something inscribed in stone either.
Melissa Myozen Blacker, from her blog firefly hall
The pandemic has meant that we have lost a lot of what we were accustomed to. Can we still look for beauty or “see the moon” when our modern day structures fall?
The barn’s burnt down,
now I can see the moon.
Mizuta Masahide, 1657–1723, Japanese Zen poet