"Look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time: Thus is your time on earth filled with glory." ~ Betty Smith
Ah, this reminds me of a story my dear friend Anne Andrew told me long ago. She asked a kindergarten class once: “How do you know what God is?” and a little boy answered with certainty: “You look at a tree as if you have never seen it before.” Great practice when I forget who you are: I’ll look at you as if I have never seen you before and then I’ll remember who you have always been.
"Forgiveness is your only function here. And remember that forgiveness is just your awareness that there is no value in this world, that there is nothing in this world which can speak to you of what you are." - Haskell
Wow, can it be written anymore clearly?
“God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say thank you?” ~ William Arthur Ward
When illustrated like this, unlike other feel-good activities that I may deny myself, such as a gym workout, meditation class, or hang-out with a friend, it becomes hard to rationalize away this simple ‘task’ due to a scheduling conflict. Don’t worry though...you’ll thank yourself later for it.
“There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called Yesterday and the other is called Tomorrow. Today is the right day to Love, Believe, Do and mostly Live.” ~ Dalai Lama
I sometimes hear scoffs when I bring up meditation or mindfulness, as if the practice is a luxury fad that adrift millennials are getting into; another hashtag to go on their Instagram pics or Tinder profiles, along with #yogalife and #blessed. But practically speaking, what is meditation but becoming more aware of one’s bodily experience while retraining the mind to be present. Sounds like the ultimate productivity tool if you ask me. As Benjamin Franklin would say, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”
"The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity... and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself." ~ William Blake
In the eyes of the man who Knows spirit (Love, God, Buddha, Christ), all of nature reflects that spirit; and not only that, all he sees reflects spirit. There are times I Know that man and then there are times that I bathe in ignorance.
"Accept the children the way we accept trees—with gratitude, because they are a blessing—but do not have expectations or desires. You don’t expect trees to change, you love them as they are." ~ Isabel Allende
Ahh, to see the little people like that .... and in seeing them like that learning to joyfully accept the Self.
"A need for approval lies behind all efforts of evangelism. If someone else can be convinced, that will show us that we are on the right path. The attempt to convince someone of anything is a mark of insecurity.” ~ Patanjali
A little simplistic? If I convince you of the fact that you will burn your hands if you pick up a hot pan, is that out of a ‘need for approval’? Is it not the loving thing to do to answer someone’s cry for love? I have seen over the years many instances where what the above says is true, but it has also been my experience that someone telling me about their path (and, at the same time, clearly showing that path brought them joy) was received by me as love and not as a mark of insecurity. The ‘right path’ is outlined by sheer conviction, the opposite of insecurity.
“And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than look down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.” ~ G K Chesterton
I have no idea what anything is for. But all too quickly, my conditioned, fearful part of mind--the ego--is all too ready to give dreary forecasts based on past insecurities. When I take a step back and allow a new, more forgiving interpretation to take shape, I adopt a much more compassionate view of the situation.
“People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.” ~ Dalai Lama
There is a certain selective mentality among the spiritual community that in order to be free from one’s past conditioning, one must, as Poonja would say, “only travel with those in the same boat...going in the same direction.”
What I find challenging about this point of view is that it comes off as not only severely limiting with whom I associate with, but moreover, it takes on a sense of ultimate authority over what is considered ‘the right way’ of living. Ignorance breeds arrogance.
What I also recognize within this hard-nosed mentality is a desire to completely cast out one’s past in order to make way for a ‘new life’; to abandon ship of old friendships and environments to more agreeable, greener pastures. The thing is, there is only One boat, and we are all in this together. Happiness will not come from the abolition of the past, but its reconciliation. It’s crowded here, and if I happen to be bumping shoulders with someone, what better way to start a dialogue?
I realize this may come off as grand-standing, but it is more an acknowledgement; a confession. I too harbour these traits of being 'uber-spiritual' or moral-police to the world from time to time. Instead of suppressing it, it's time to rock the boat baby.
"I am everything".
"I am nothing".
Between the two, my life flows." ~ Nisargadatta
That flow continues till I finally see that ‘Everything’ and ‘Nothing’ are the same, till I finally see that Love is all there is.
Diederik Wolsak is program director at Choose Again