To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.
C.S. Lewis, The Fours Loves
Can you be happy where you are, in your life, at this moment?
If this was a problem in Pascal’s time – more than 300 years ago – it is even more so today. IN a world increasingly driven by the need to achieve, and by advertising, media and social networking, we can physically be in one place but miles away from it in our mind and in the thoughts and aspirations which the images produce. I was reminded of this yesterday, standing in line in a boulangerie – in a beautiful place beside the sea and palm trees – when the man in front of me said “Yes, my body may be on holidays, but my mind is still in the office”. This difficulty to switch off – even in a place of great natural beauty – makes it hard for us to be where we are at this moment, physically, but also in the sense of being with what is the realiuty of our life at this actual time in our history. We find ourselves living in our thoughts, dreams and worries, and strangely sometimes seem to prefer to be there.
All man’s miseries derive from not being
able to sit quietly in a room alone.
Blaise Pascal, French Philosopher.
Fear is so fundamental to the human condition that all the great spiritual traditions originate in an effort to overcome its effects on our lives. With different words, they all proclaim the same core message: “Be not afraid.” . . . . It is important to note with care what that core teaching does and does not say. “Be not afraid” does not say that we should not have fears — and if it did, we could dismiss it as an impossible counsel of perfection. Instead, it says that we do not need to be our fears, quite a different proposition.
A lot of the time much of our sense of inner worth is based on feelings related to others’ perceptions of us or their achievements. However, it is a basic tenet of mindfulness that happiness and peace of mind do not comes from things outside of us – when certain conditions are right – such as from a relationship, or what we possess or from our status in society – but rather comes from working with our mind and heart. It is ironically from not seeking some things that they are found:
Looking for peace is like looking for a turtle with a mustache:
You won’t be able to find it.
But when your heart is ready,
peace will come looking for you.
Whether all is really lost
or not depends entirely on
whether or not I am lost.
Everything is in process. 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.