One of the sad things today is that so many people are frightened by the wonder of their own presence. They are dying to tie themselves into a system, a role, or to an image, or to a predetermined identity that other people have actually settled on for them. This identity may be totally at variance with the wild energies that are rising inside in their souls. Many of us get very afraid and we eventually compromise. We settle for something that is safe, rather than engaging the danger and the wildness that is in our own hearts. A man in Connemara said one time to a friend of mine, ‘Beidh muid sínte siar cúig mhilliúin blain déag faoin chré’ – “We’ll be lying down in the earth for about fifteen million years” – and we have a short exposure. I feel that when you recognize that death is on its way, it is a great liberation, because it means that you can in some way feel the call to live everything that is within you. One of the greatest sins is the unlived life, not to allow yourself to become chief executive of the project you call your life, to have a reverence always for the immensity that is inside of you.
John O Donohue, Walking in Wonder: Eternal Wisdom for a Modern World
Although the wind
blows terribly here,
the moonlight also leaks
between the roof planks
of this ruined house.
Izumi Shikibu c., 974 – 1034
The moon in Japanese poetry is always the moon; often it is also the image of awakening. This poem reminds that if a house is walled so tightly that it lets in no wind or rain, if a life is walled so tightly that it lets in no pain, grief, anger, or longing, it will also be closed to the entrance of what is most wanted.
Translation and commentary by Jane Hirshfield
The end of suffering that we can achieve through our practice turns out to be an end of separation from suffering. Suffering ceases to exist when it is no longer something that we experience as impinging on our life, as an unnecessary, avoidable intrusion that we finally learn to exclude from our lives once and for all… Suffering doesn’t disappear from our life but into our life.
Barry Magid, Ending the Pursuit of Happiness: A Zen Guide
What is here now if there is no problem to solve?
A glimpse Practice to be used for reflection. Maybe try it for the day. We tend to identify with our actions and our problems.
Loch Kelly, Shift into Freedom: The Science and Practice of Open-Hearted Awareness
It is not a matter of looking for happiness
or trying to avoid suffering
but of going to the place beyond happiness or suffering.
I have dreamed of the morning
coming in like a bird through the window
not burdened by a thought.
Wendell Berry, The Design of The House: Ideal and Hard Time