If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints, possibility never. And what wine is so sparkling, what so fragrant, what so intoxicating, as possibility!
We human beings have the ability to think of things not in front of us. We create stories in our minds in which the hero or heroine is always us. We evaluate what happened in the past, we analyze our present conditions, and we anticipate what should happen in the future…… But this ability leads to many problems. We have certain expectations of our stories. If things go as we expect, we feel like heavenly beings, but if not, we feel we’re in hell. Often we desire more and more without ever experiencing satisfaction, like hungry ghosts. It’s important to see that it’s not life that causes suffering but our expectation that life should be the way we want. We can’t live without expectation, but if we can handle the feelings caused by the difference between our expectations and reality, that’s liberation.
Kosho Uchiyama, Zen Teaching of Homeless Kodo
Why didn’t I learn to treat everything like it was the last time?
My greatest regret was how much I believed in the future.
Jonathan Safran Foer, 1977 – American Novelist
The “10, 000 things” is a shorthand way of talking about all the experiences – good and bad – which arise and pass away in our lifetime.
The ten thousand things are all reflections
The moon originally has no light
Han shen, 9th Century
Soothe the anguish of your soul.
Nobody is destined only to happiness or to pain.
The wheel of life takes one up and down by turn.
Kālidāsa, Sanskrit poet and dramatist, 4th–5th century
Unexpected intrusions of beauty.
This is what life is.
Saul Bellow, 1915 – 2005, Canadian-American writer, winner of Nobel Prize for literature