Stuck in concepts

There is great practical wisdom in understanding how the mind
creates boundaries of concern and interest, and how we can work
with these. Of course there are boundaries; there are other beings
on earth. But what counts is how those boundaries are maintained,
opened and closed.

When we consider otherness — the way beings
are different from us — we can feel either insecurity, ‘How does
she compare with me?’ or contempt, ‘You’re not as good as me’; or
fear and intimidation, ‘You’re better or stronger than me.’ Or, we
can feel adoration/attraction — ‘I want to be bonded to you.’

These immediate assumptions are called ‘conceit’: that is, we conceive
of people as worse, better or the same as us. The effect is that the
mind’s responsiveness gets stuck. 

Caught in the conceit of self-view, the heart doesn’t extend its boundaries of appreciation and concern. 

We take each other for granted as ‘my wife,’ ‘my boss,’ ‘my teacher’; and that fixing of them freezes our sensitivity. In that state, the heart easily tips over
into complaining about the other not being the way they ‘should
be’ (or rather the way I want them to be), and so the heart becomes
a breeding ground for ill-will.

Ajahn Sucitto, Parami: Ways to Cross Life’s Floods

On the island

 

how would it be to allow for knowing
and not knowing:

allowing room
for the mystery
of creating
to be able to wonder
softly
without needing to understand everything
to trust in the process
to trust in love
to trust in the mystery and wonder
of the universe
that beats softly wildly
true
all round about us,
that is hidden
in the mists
in the clouds and the rain
in the wind blowing and the rain lashing down on your window,
reminding you
poetically
prosaically
that this is where you are,
on the island,
at the edge,
in a place of finding
and refinding,
and remembering
to remember
the feel of the mist, wind and rain.

Author Unknown, sometimes attributed to John O’Donohue

Natural change

Moving towards the shortest day of the year this week, dark mornings and evenings. Very wild and wet again overnight. Easy to see that life is constantly changing, going up and down, with both darkness and life as just natural parts of the overall whole.

Everything — every tree, every blade of grass, all the animals, insects, human beings, buildings, the animate and the inanimate — is always changing, moment to moment. We don’t have to be mystics or physicists to know this. Yet at the level of personal experience, we resist this basic fact. It means that life isn’t always going to go our way. It means there’s loss as well as gain. And we don’t like that.

Pema Chödrön, The Places that Scare you

Believing our thoughts

When you are identified with your mind,  you cannot be very intelligent because you become identified with an instrument, you become confined by the instrument and its limitations. So, use the mind, but don’t become it . . . The mind is a beautiful machine. If you can use it, it will serve you; if you cannot use it and it starts using you, it is destructive, it is dangerous. It is bound to take you . . . into some suffering and misery . . . Mind cannot see; it can only go on repeating that which has been fed into it. It is like a computer…Remain the master so that you can use it; otherwise it starts directing you.

Osho, New Man for the New Millennium

Always rushing somewhere else

Only 22 shopping days till Christmas….

Along with the speediness we have the sense that there is not enough time. It’s interesting to observe how often we are living with that perception. It is usually accompanied by a squeeze of anxiety: “I’m not going to be prepared,” and a chain of insecurities. “There’s something around the corner that is going to be too much,” “I’m going to fall short,” “I won’t get something critical done.” There’s this sense that we’re on our way somewhere else and that what’s right here is not the time that matters. We’re trying to get to the point in the future when we’ve finally checked everything off our to-do list and we can rest. As long as this is our habit, we are racing toward the end of our life. We are skimming the surface, and unable to arrive in our life. When we’re speeding along, we violate our own natural rhythms in a way that prevents us from listening to our inner life and being in a resonant field with others. We get tight. We get small. We override our capacity to appreciate beauty, to celebrate, to serve from the heart.

Tara Brach, Gift to the Soul: The Space of Presence