The purpose of meditation

 

The fundamental purpose of … meditation is not to create a comfortable hiding place for oneself;

it is to acquaint the mind, on a moment -to-moment basis, with impermanence.

Mark Epstein, Advice not given: a Guide to Getting over Yourself

This is it

Try: Reminding yourself from time to time: ‘This is it.’ See if there is anything at all that it cannot be applied to. Remind yourself that acceptance of the present moment has nothing to do with resignation in the face of what is happening. It simply means a clear acknowledgement that ‘what is happening is happening.’ Acceptance doesn’t tell you what to do. What happens next, what you choose to do, that has to come out of your understanding of this moment. You might try acting out of a deep knowing of ‘This is it.’ Does it influence how you choose to proceed or respond? Is it possible for you to contemplate that in a very real way, this may actually be the best season, the best moment of your life? If that was so, what would it mean for you?

Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever you Go, There You are

Bit by bit

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good. What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. 

Clarissa Pinkola-Estes, You Were Made For This

Quieten the chatter


Sometimes it seems almost everything in our culture conspires to distance us from heart and soul. So many messages are ads, trying to sell us something of questionable usefulness while ruthlessly pandering to our vanity, insecurity, or unhappiness – new toys, fashion, entertainment, or insurance against the inevitabilities of life. Few people ask the bigger questions.

Constant superficial conversation keeps us from noticing what’s going on with us emotionally or spiritually or in our bodies. Small talk alienates us from ourselves- perhaps a purpose as well as a result. In order to approach the deeper truths of our soul, we must quiet the inner chatter.

Bill Plotkin, Crossing into the Mysteries of Nature and Psyche

Predicament

Two quotes from Leonard Cohen on the anniversary of his death

One idea on my new record is that the human predicament has no solution. We were tossed out of the garden; this isn’t paradise. And to look for perfect solutions is a very difficult burden to bear. That’s my theme: It’s a mess — thank God

[“The Traitor”]  was about the feeling that we have of betraying some mission that we were mandated to fulfill, and being unable to fulfill it. And then coming to understand that the real mandate was not to fulfill it, and that the deeper courage was to stand guiltless in the predicament in which you found yourself.

 

Always being born, always dying

To regress in a certain way is to return to origins, to step back from the battle line of existence, to remember the gods and spirits and elements of nature, including your own pristine nature, the person you were at the beginning. You return to the womb of imagination so that your pregnancy can recycle. You are always being born, always dying to the day to find the restorative waters of night. Darkness is natural, one of the life processes. There may be some promise, the mere suggestion that life is going forward, even though you have no sense of where you are headed. It’s a time of waiting and trusting. My attitude as a therapist in these situations is not to be anxious for a conclusion or even understanding.

You have to sit with these things and in due time let them be revealed for what they are.

Thomas Moore, The Dark Night of the Soul