When someone says or does something that I find either obnoxious or unattractive – anything that my ego uses to separate myself from others – I’ll just soften my eyes and fall back into that “something else.” That something else is what does the transforming – it is the grace that makes it work. My only effort is to be aware enough to realize what’s happening. The moment of realizing is actually, in itself, a form of healing. The moment I see that and am willing to fall back into grace, then there’s a possibility for something different to happen within myself. Instead of judging an experience – which makes more separation- I can fall back into letting the universe handle it. This is a gift that’s quite freeing.
Kathleen Dowling Singh, The Grace in Living: Recognize It, Trust It, Abide in It
At one point in the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says, “I am the Self hidden in the heart.” He’s referring to one of the deepest pieces of wisdom in the yoga tradition: the teaching that in our own bodies, in the subtle center called the heart, we can tune in to our true Self, the part of us that isn’t confused about what life is all about. That Presence is the “me” and the great source of true refuge.
The mystic poet Kabir speaks of this Presence as “the breath inside the breath.” His point is that it’s always closer than you think. Once you’ve learned how to tune in to Presence, you have a refuge that you can turn to at any time, even in the middle of a stressful business meeting or an argument with your spouse. One way to tune in to Presence right now is to focus on the space in and around your body. Inhale and exhale, feeling that. With the inhalation, you breathe that space in through your pores; as you exhale, you breathe it out. After a while, you should become aware of a subtle, delicate energy that is both inside your body and around it. According to the yoga tradition, this is Presence — and it is close to you at all times.
Sally Kempton, How to Find More Calm — Even When Life Feels Craziest
Ring the bells that still can ring Forget your perfect offering There is a crack, a crack in everything That’s how the light gets in
Leonard Cohen, Anthem
In 1992 he commented on the lines:
We’ve forgotten the central myth of our culture which is the expulsion from the garden of Eden. This situation does not admit of solution of perfection. This is not the place where you make things perfect, neither in your marriage, nor in your work, nor anything, nor your love of God, nor your love of family or country. The thing is imperfect.
There is a crack in everything that you can put together: Physical objects, mental objects, constructions of any kind. But that’s where the light gets in, and that’s where the resurrection is and that’s where the return, that’s where the repentance is. It is with the confrontation with the broken-ness of things.
Everyone wants you to be Atlas, to shoulder it all. Even the voice in your head insists you are behind. But I’ve seen the light in you, the one the gods finger while we sleep. I’ve seen the blossom open in your heart, no matter what remains to be done. There are never enough hours to satisfy the minions of want. So close your eyes and lean into the Oneness that asks nothing of you…. You have never been more complete than in this incomplete moment.
What does wakefulness mean? It means resting in a kind of awareness that is so stable that it’s not thrown off by the comings and goings of events within the field of awareness. So that you don’t lose your balance when things go this way and things go that way, but you actually stay grounded when things go your way, as we put it. And when things don’t go your way, it doesn’t mean that you have to rocket yourself or spiral into depression and hopelessness and a sense of despair. But very often if we take it personally and we feel like our successes say that we’re a good person and then, by extrapolation, our failures say that there’s something wrong with me, that I’m no good. And both of those are wrong. What goes up also comes down, whether we’re talking about the stock market or a ball that you throw up in the air. And if you mistake what you think of as the reality for the reality, then you’re going to suffer because you’re attaching the story of me, myself, and my successes and my failures to something that’s actually quite impersonal.
Jon Kabat Zinn, Interview with Krista Tippett, Speaking of Faith