‘After feeling driven my whole life
something very near the center has
unwound and I can no longer hurry
through airports or return all my calls.
And sometimes people I barely know
swim up like old worn fish to show me
the map of their gills, and the one long
gash of something they once swallowed,
and how it has cut each breath since.
And I am honored to warm them
like a blanket. But when alone, I
find it hard not to watch
what I swallow.
When alone, these things
I’ve wanted to know since birth
feel so unanswerable, I must
have been torn from them.
I’m sure a hawk doesn’t know it’s a
hawk. I’m sure a spirit doesn’t know
it’s being spiritual. Or a screen door
slapping, like a tired life, in the night,
if it’s opening or closing.
Though we give up the murky fears,
we still can’t know our worth, any-
more than a faceless treasure
can fathom why
it was boxed
Just try to keep your mind in the present. Whatever arises in the mind, just watch it and let go of it. Don’t even wish to be rid of thoughts. Then the mind will return to its natural state. No discriminating between good and bad, hot and cold, fast and slow. No me and no you, no self at all—just what there is. When you walk there is no need to do anything special. Simply walk and see what is there. No need to cling to isolation or seclusion. Wherever you are, know yourself by being natural and watching. If doubts arise, watch them come and go. It’s very simple. Hold on to nothing. It’s as though you are walking down a road. Periodically you will run into obstacles. When you meet defilements, just see them and overcome them by letting them go. Don’t think about the obstacles you’ve already passed; don’t worry about those you have not yet seen. Stick to the present. Don’t be concerned about the length of the road or the destination. Everything is changing. Whatever you pass, don’t cling to it. Eventually the mind will reach its natural balance where practice is automatic. All things will come and go of themselves.
“I know we often want it all happy and positive, but that’s just not where much of humanity is. Many of us are overwhelmed with pain, undigested sadness, unexpressed anger, unseen truths. This is where we are at, as a collective. So we have two choices. We can continue to pretend it’s not there, shame and shun it in ourselves and others, distract and detach whenever possible. Or we can face it heart-on, own it within ourselves, look for it in others with compassion, create a culture that is focused on authenticity and healthy emotional release. If we continue to push it all down, we are both creating illness and delaying our collective expansion. But if we can just own the shadow, express it, release it, love each other through it, we can finally graduate from the School of Heart Knocks and begin to enjoy this magnificent life as we were intended. Pretending the pain isn’t there just embeds it further. Let’s illuminate it instead.” ~ Jeff Brown (image from www.tailwindapp.com)
“If you put your hand into a fire, does anyone have to tell you to move it? Do you have to decide? No: When your hand starts to burn, it moves. You don’t have to direct it; the hand moves itself. In the same way, once you understand, through inquiry, that an untrue thought causes suffering, you move away from it.” – Byron Katie
“Every feeling has a message. Maybe that message is simply to allow yourself to feel the emotion until it dissipates. Maybe the feeling is guiding you toward some action… If something persists—anger, fear, or anxiety—simply ask it what it wants to tell you. Sit quietly and allow the answer to appear. When you feel peaceful, you have your answer, whether or not you like what that answer says.”
“Since the beginning of time, people have been trying to change the world so that they can be happy. This hasn’t ever worked, because it approaches the problem backward. What The Work gives us is a way to change the projector—mind—rather than the projected. It’s like when there’s a piece of lint on a projector’s lens. We think there’s a flaw on the screen, and we try to change this person and that person, whomever the flaw appears on next. But it’s futile to try to change the projected images. Once we realize where the lint is, we can clear the lens itself. This is the end of suffering, and the beginning of a little joy in paradise.”
Huge thanks to Richard, author of the supremely helpful blog Zen and the Art of Everyday Living. He recently blogged about a mindfulness meditation technique on letting go. I found it immensely helpful as I recently suffered the loss of my dog Bentley. When my monkey mind went into overdrive and when I wasn’t able to calm the agitation, this meditation helped me gain peace again. It’s a technique I’ve found most beneficial.
I hope you enjoy his post.
In Letting Go: The Path to Peace we looked at how important it is to develop the ability to let go of anything that is taking us away from peace in the present moment. This is such a fundamental practice both in meditation and everyday moment to moment living that I want to share with […]
“Negative feelings are not true feelings at all; rather, they are your thoughts about something, based always on the previous experience of yourself and others. You will not find Truth in your past data, Forget your “past experience” and look directly at the experience you are having Right Here, Right Now. There is your Truth.”
“The essential religion is taking the whole responsibility for whatsoever you are. And immediately an insight arises: ‘If I am responsible for my suffering, then it is simple, I can drop it. It is my choice. I will not choose it any more.’ “A Sufi mystic who had always remained happy was asked…. For seventy years people had watched him, he had never been found sad. One day they asked him, ‘What is the secret of your happiness?’ He said, ‘There is no secret. Every morning when I wake up, I meditate for five minutes and I say to myself, ‘Listen, now there are two possibilities: you can be miserable, or you can be blissful. Choose.’ And I always choose to be blissful.’ “All alternatives are open. Choose to be blissful. And then there are people who can be blissful even when they are imprisoned, and there are people who remain miserable even when they are living in marble palaces. It all depends on you.”