Posts Tagged ‘life
If you don’t get what you want, you suffer; if you get what you don’t want, you suffer; even when you get exactly what you want, you still suffer because you can’t hold on to it forever.
Your mind is your predicament.
It wants to be free of change. Free of pain, free of the obligations of life and death.
But change is a law, and no amount of pretending will alter that reality.
I have not been in an altruistic space the last few days, although the thought below has been an ever present whisper among my own self absorption.
My body is tired, my lower back has been out for several days, sleep has not been easy for over a year, the workload has been pressure filled and family life has been, well, complicated. I do not want to sit with any of this; I just want some relief. I just want to return to a sense of comfort.
I’m not beating myself up over it, but I’m not pleased either. So for right now I just remind myself through teachings and readings . . . and remembering the universal compassion which is at work even when I do not feel it – even while avoiding my shit.
Eventually I’ll stop avoiding, but for now I just feel like bitching . . .
When we’re afraid, the mind tends to dart away instead of diligently and deeply entering the fear. It gets confused and thinks, “Let me take care of myself first,” as if it weren’t responsible for the whole world.
Part of what zazen—sitting meditation—does is to help us settle down into gentle, unswerving attention and peel away that false sense of separation.–Bonnie Myotai Treace, from “Rising to the Challenge,” in the Spring 2003 issue of Tricycle
The universe is sacred. You cannot improve it. If you try to change it, you will ruin it. If you try to hold it, you will lose it. (from Tao Quotes)
Such great words for me. This captures a snapshot of my place of “letting go” .
Sitting still and going beyond mind – touching the place of grace – this void is almost always sweet for me (even if the process of getting there appears bitter sometimes).
In some ways this is the easy part.
Easy in that, I get wrapped up in my day to day shit. I do my stress over paperwork at the office, client issues, talking story with friends, car repairs, medical bills, traffic, the news . . .blah blah blah. Sitting lets everything just be.
It is the other practice, when I am not sitting, that is more difficult (although less so than 10 years ago – yay for discipline – and the gifts of compassion and kindness in my life).
This other practice is “mindfulness”. It is a moment to moment “letting go” and letting things be as they are – as I engage with my perception of things as they arise. Being with the paperwork, issues, friends, traffic, etc – and less so than with my perception, less attached to my judgments of these things. It is a breath that softens the hard and tight places within me. It is the wonderful insignificance in what “I think”.
I call this place in my life – Grace.
And for this I am thankful.
Make Your Own Way
Hikers know that there are no passable roads in a virgin forest. However, a road will open up when you pull away the grass, thorns and wisteria. Swimmers know that there are no paths in the water, but as you swim you will create a pathway.
Cultivation is similar. You only need to get on the path and walk and you will create your own path. The roads walked by the Ch’an patriarchs are theirs, not yours. You must depend on yourself to open up your own road.
-Ch’an Master Sheng-yen, from Dharma Drum
There’s a Zen story in which a man is enjoying himself on a river at dusk. He sees another boat coming down the river toward him. At first it seems so nice to him that someone else is also enjoying the river on a nice summer evening.
Then he realizes that the boat is coming right toward him, faster and faster. He begins to get upset and starts to yell, “Hey, hey watch out! For Pete’s sake, turn aside!” But the boat just comes faster and faster, right toward him. By this time he’s standing up in his boat, screaming and shaking his fist, and then the boat smashes right into him.
He sees that it’s an empty boat.
This is the classic story of our whole life situation.
–Pema Chodron, Start Where You Are