Your mind is your greatest treasure. We become so taken up with the world, with having and doing more and more that we come to ignore who we are and forget what we see the world with.
The most powerful way to change your life is to change your mind.
John O’Donohue, The Art of Developing a Beautiful Mind
To meet everyone and everything through stillness instead of mental noise
is the greatest gift you can offer to the universe.
When from our better selves we have too long
Been parted by the hurry world, and droop,
Sick of its business, of its pleasures tired,
How gracious, how benign, is Solitude
Wordsworth, The Prelude
Zen is really just a reminder to stay alive and be awake. We tend to daydream all the time, speculating and dwelling on the past. Zen practice is about appreciating your life in this moment. If you are truly aware five minutes a day, you’re doing pretty well. We are beset by both the future and the past, but there is no reality apart from the here and the now. So this is a very concise teaching about zazen [sitting meditation], just a reminder to stay alive and be awake. Notice how much you tend to dwell in the past and speculate about the future; it will help you to practice more in this realm of appreciating your life in this moment.
Zenkei Blanche Hartman, Seeds of A Boundless Life
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.
Wendell Berry, How to Be a Poet
Almost all cultures have the notion that there is a judgment when we die. Some kind of accounting has to be made of one’s life. I believe God — and to me “God” is just shorthand for the ineffable divine presence — has only one question for us at the end: “Did you become yourself?” We have a seeded self that begins to germinate at birth. Our true goal in life is to become that self.
There’s an African proverb: “When death finds you, may it find you alive.” Alive means living your own damn life, not the life that your parents wanted, or the life some cultural group or political party wanted, but the life that your own soul wants to live. That’s the way to evaluate whether you are an authentic person or not.
Michael Meade, Your Own Damn Life