Not the form we expect

All life worth living is difficult, nobody promised us happiness;

it is not a commodity you have earned, or shall ever earn.

It is a by-product of brave living, and it never comes in the form we expect, or at the season we hoped for, or as the result of our planning for it.

Katherine Anne Porter  1890 –  1980, American journalist, short story writer, novelist, and political activist.

The witness

There is one technique which is known as adopting the role of the witness – and holding onto that role – ultimately, to the exclusion of all roles. The witness is not evaluative. It does not judge your actions. It merely notes them.  This point is important. Most of the time the inner voices of most people are continually evaluative. “I’m good for doing this” or “I’m bad for doing that.” You must make that evaluative role an object of contemplation as well. Keep in mind that the witness does not care whether you become enlightened or not. It merely notes how it all is.

Ram Daas, Be Here Now

Letting go of self development

When we seek happiness through accumulation, either outside of ourselves – from other people, relationships, or material goods – or from our own self-development, we are missing the essential point. In either case we are trying to find completion. But according to Buddhism, such a strategy is doomed. 

Completion comes not from adding another piece to ourselves but from surrendering our ideas of perfection.

Mark Epstein, Going to Pieces without Falling Apart: A Buddhist Perspective on Wholeness

Sunday Quote: Inside ourselves

There are people who are unhappy regardless of the work they do

or the relationship they are in,

and yet they continuously fool themselves into thinking

that an external makeover will affect them internally.

Tal Ben-Shahar, Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment

Absolute presence

Reality met on its own terms demands absolute presence, and absolute giving away, an ability to live on equal terms with the fleeting and the eternal, the hardly touchable and the fully possible, a full bodily appearance and disappearance, a rested giving in and giving up;another identity braver, more generous and more here than the one looking hungrily for the easy, unearned answer.

David Whyte