Start the day

Dawn is coming…… I step quietly from my bed, alive to the silences around me. This is the quiet time, the time of innocence and soft thoughts, the childhood of the day. Now is the moment when I must pause and lift my heart – now, before the day fragments and my consciousness shatters into a thousand pieces. For this is the moment when the senses are most alive, when a thought, a touch, a piece of music can shape the spirit and color of the day. But if I am not careful – if I rise, frantic, from my bed, full of small concerns – the mystical flow of the imagination at rest will be broken, the past and the future will rush in to claim my mind, and I will be swept up into life’s petty details and myriad obligations. Gone will be the openness that comes only to the waking heart, and with it, the chance to focus the spirit and consecrate the day.

Kent Neburn, Small Grace: The Quiet Gifts of Everyday life

A new month, a clear mind

Our news these days has a continual fearful, –  or as we see this week – an angry or resentful tone. We have to work to ensure that it does not become the dominant energy of this day or this new month.

The water of the mind, how clear it is!
Gazing at it, the boundaries are invisible.
But as soon as even a slight thought arises,
ten thousand images crowd it.
Attach to them, and they become real.
Be carried by them, and it will be difficult to return.
How painful to see a person trapped in the ten-fold delusions.

Ryokan, Sōtō Zen Buddhist monk,  1758 – 1831

Not being paralyzed

Someone asked me, “Aren’t you worried about the state of the world?” I allowed myself to breathe and then I said, “What is most important is not to allow your anxiety about what happens in the world to fill your heart. If your heart is filled with anxiety, you will get sick, and you will not be able to help.” Yes, there is tremendous suffering all over the world, but knowing this need not paralyze us. If we practice mindful breathing, mindful walking, mindful sitting, and working in mindfulness, we can try our best to help.

Thich Nhat Hanh

The Myth of Urgency

There are never enough hours to satisfy the minions of wants. So close
your eyes and lean into the Oneness that asks nothing of you.

When the calls stack, answer to no one, though you receive them all.

Just open your beautiful hands, born with nothing in them.

You have never been more
complete than in this incomplete moment.

Mark Nepo, The Myth of Urgency

Peace of mind is possible

Life is difficult, the Buddha taught, for everyone. Suffering, he said, is the demand that experience be different than what it is. Of course, we do what we can to address pain. Sometimes illnesses are cured. Sometimes relationships are mended. Sometimes losses are recouped. Sometimes, though, nothing can be done. The Buddha’s teaching of liberation was that peace of mind is possible, no matter what the circumstances.

Sylvia Boorstein, It’s All Happening to All of us, All of the Time