Your great mistake is to act the drama as if you were alone. As if life were a progressive and cunning crime with no witness to the tiny hidden transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely, even you, at times, have felt the grand array; the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding out your solo voice. You must note the way the soap dish enables you, or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity. The stairs are your mentor of things to come, the doors have always been there to frighten you and invite you, and the tiny speaker in the phone is your dream-ladder to divinity.
Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into the conversation. The kettle is singing even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots have left their arrogant aloofness and seen the good in you at last. All the birds and creatures of the world are unutterably themselves. Everything is waiting for you.
~ David Whyte
Following the Zen of Master Dogen is not the wish to become more than human, a special being, Buddha or God. No more is it the hope to have a vision of emptiness, nor to perform miracles.
It is to return to the normal condition of the human mind.
There are many seekers who analyze but never practice zazen.
They just keep the books, like bankers who count money without themselves being rich.
– Kodo Sawaki
So many “spiritual” seekers attempt to attain loving kindness by waging inner warfare on their egos. But this subliminal quality of aggression against oneself projects into all other relationships, and those do-gooders carry their hostility into the world.
This is why bourgeois morality is so full of resentment toward those who won’t conform to conventional “self-discipline.”
Only when you enfold your ego in compassion, simply watching over it as a mother watches over her wondrous naughty innocent perfectly stumbling child, can you hope to permeate the world with forgiveness, with the grace of non-judgment.
~ Fred LaMotte
There are those who pride themselves on being ‘activists,’ some believing that their actions are more significant than what other people do. But who judges the value of an act?
The old Bulgarian cobbler – some say he is one of only seven Tzaddiks left on earth – stitches a new sole to a grizzled boot. He is so present, and so deep in merry silence, he doesn’t realize how he sews heaven to earth, allowing us to survive another day.
The pole star seems to rest in stillness all night. Yet it streaks at inconceivable speed through the heavens.
A tiny emerald moth alights on the lupine in a mountain meadow, folding its wings in repose. This faint pulse sends out a thread of causation that will finally bring a tempest to the other side of the planet.
The child falls and scrapes her knee. The mother who treats her wound, not only with ointment but with immeasurable tenderness, lightens the burden of all who suffer, though we never know quite why we sigh, and feel such nameless elevation.
If you take – no, receive – a breath with infinite gratitude – for we are not capable of doing infinite works, but we are capable of being infinitely grateful – this breath may feel like the faintest caress on your breastbone. But can you be sure it isn’t a mighty wind from the Creator, sweeping the world, renewing mountains, forests, and rivers, restoring the Spirit to every heart that beats?
In the words of Thich Nhat Hanh, “Drink your tea slowly, as if it is the axis on which the earth revolves.”
~ Fred LaMotte
If a man carries too many worldly burdens, his body will soon wear out. If he worries about too many worldly problems, his mind will soon collapse. To be so occupied with material things is a dangerous way to live, a foolish waste of energy. A man ought to simplify his needs and use his strength to attain spiritual goals. Nobody ever ruined his mind or body by exercising self-restraint.
– Han Shan, Journey to Dreamland
The purpose of a fish trap is to trap fish, and when the fish are caught, the trap is forgotten.
The purpose of a rabbit snare is to catch rabbits. When the rabbits are caught, the snare is forgotten.
The purpose of words is to convey ideas. When the ideas are grasped, the words are forgotten.
Where can I find a man who has forgotten the words? He is the one I would like to talk to.
Four hundred years ago, almost no one on Earth had tasted coffee. It was too difficult to move things a few thousand miles.
A hundred years ago, if you wanted a cold drink in the summer or needed to ice an injured knee, you were largely out of luck. It took millions of years of cultural and technical evolution to get to the point where people had a freezer in their house.
The industrial revolution was mighty indeed. It paved the Earth, created the middle class and changed everything. And it was a powerhouse for generations, incrementally changing what hadn’t been changed yet.
The TV revolution followed, introducing mass marketing as a force that could change our culture.
Then, the 60s brought the computer revolution, which involved large devices capable of sorting, calculating and processing things that were previously unsorted.
We’re living right now in the connection revolution, one powered by the internet, in which people connect to people, computers connect to computers and our culture changes ever faster, daily.
The next two revolutions are right around the corner:
The biology revolution, which has had some fits and starts, will transform our bodies and our planet. Once computers are able to see, understand and modify living things, the same acceleration of the last three revolutions will kick in.
And the AI revolution, in which we engage with computers as much as with each other, is showing itself now too.
Faster, ever faster. Moore’s law ratchets technology, technology changes the culture, the culture changes the economy and it continues.
Revolutions are impossible, until they’re not, and then they seem totally normal.
Iced coffee, anyone?
~ Seth Godin