Holding all in our heart

More thoughts prompted by recent weather events….

Yesterday all exterior talk was of storms and wind and damage. Interior talk was of loss and holding onto to what really has worth.

What if we allowed our hearts to keep opening, even in the face of storms and uncertainty, until our hearts were big enough to fit all experiences inside?

We could learn to stop when the sun goes down and when the sun comes up. We could learn to listen to the wind; we could learn to notice that it’s raining or snowing or hailing or calm. We could reconnect with the weather that is ourselves, and we could realize that it’s sad. The sadder it is, and the vaster it is, the more our heart opens. We can stop thinking that good practice is when it’s smooth and calm, and bad practice is when it’s rough and dark. If we can hold it all in our hearts, then we can make a proper cup of tea.

Pema Chödrön

Sunday Quote: Autumn rest

The sun goes ’round, the moon goes ’round, the tides and seasons go ’round, people are born and die, and when are we finished? 

If we refuse rest until we are finished, we will never rest until we die.

Sabbath dissolves the artificial urgency of our days, because it liberates us from the need to be finished.

Wayne Muller. Sabbath, Restoring the Sacred Rhythm of Rest

Never sitting still

People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls.

They will practice yoga and all its exercises, observe a strict regimen of diet, learn theosophy by heart, or mechanically repeat mystic texts from the literature of the whole world – all because they cannot get on with themselves and have not the slightest faith that anything useful could ever come out of their own souls.

Carl Jung

Balance

It is not always easy to maintain a tranquil and balanced mind when work pressures mount, or we have a lot of evaluation reports to complete. Resting in awareness  by stepping out of the story line is a good thing to do, even for a few moments every hour.

Anyone can restore some degree of balance

between thinking and awareness

right in this present moment,

which is the only moment that any of us ever has anyway.

Jon Kabat Zinn

An empty mind

To see the empty nature of mind is liberating. It’s like a room full of furniture. Originally the room is empty. The furniture is brought in piece by piece. The person living there knows that anything they brought into the room can also be taken out — chairs, beds, tables, and so on. Similarly anything brought into the mind by prior causes and conditions can be taken out — afflictive emotions… all kinds of suffering. Nothing is stuck. This empty nature is the direct route to freedom. Once we know it, it is only a question of doing the work. As Suzuki Roshi put it, “People who know the state of emptiness will always be able to dissolve their problems by constancy.” Constancy here means continuing with our practice of right effort. Once we know the peace of an empty mind, we only need to keep letting go of the sources of suffering. The field of awareness, like vast space, is intrinsically empty. 

Guy Amstrong, in his new book,  Emptiness, A Practical Guide for Meditators

In face of our fears

If we realize that our greatest enemy is fear

and what it does to us,  and how much it launches these automatic protective programs, 

then we realize that there’s a kind of daily summons to stand up in face of our fears

and risk being who we are and risk potential loss of our comfort zones

and the consensual approval that every child needs, 

but which becomes a kind of constrictive burden for the adult

James Hollis