"Perhaps the biggest tragedy of our lives is that freedom is possible, yet we can pass our years trapped in the same old patterns...We may want to love other people without holding back, to feel authentic, to breathe in the beauty around us, to dance and sing. Yet each day we listen to inner voices that keep our life small."
"Pain is not wrong. Reacting to pain as wrong initiates the trance of unworthiness. The moment we believe something is wrong, our world shrinks and we lose ourselves in the effort to combat the pain."
Think like a 4-year-old might. Ask yourself those 4-year-old questions: Why do your jeans have holes in them? Why are you checking your phone again? Why are you grumpy until you have coffee in the morning? It's not about having the answers but about being inspired to ask the questions because your eyes are truly open. When we do this, we start seeing what we have been ignoring and the world opens in a magical way.
"No one word, however shiny, however intriguingly Eastern, however bolstered by science, can ever fix the human condition. And that's what commercial mindfulness may have lost from the most rigorous Buddhist tenets it replaced: the implication that suffering cannot be escaped but must be faced."
What’s true about any mindfulness work is that, if you’re going to open up, you’re going to see dark places. You can’t hide from yourself like you used to. Hiding from yourself created problems, but opening your eyes and being with yourself and watching your emotions rise and fall, being more honest about what you’re feeling, sensing, remembering, thinking—that’s also going to be difficult. I don’t think it’s by accident that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy works pretty well for people who have had depression three or more times, but is arguably inert for people who’ve only had a single depressive episode. Because if you’re going to open the door to the basement and go walking down into the basement you’re going to see stuff down there that’s not for the faint of heart.
If you’re going to do this kind of work you’re going to find pain within you and without; you’re going to see injustice, you’re going to see suffering around you. You’re going to walk into the grocery store and you’re going to see people who don’t have enough money to buy the groceries they need. You’re going to see people walking by you who have a hard time taking a next step because they’re old and in physical pain. You start opening up to a more varied kind of perspective on yourself and others that I think is more honest.
But we dare not take these Eastern traditions and simply throw them into our Western minds with the idea that we’re going to relax and walk around with a big smiley face all the time. It’s a richer soup than the kind that our western commercial culture is giving us and our children, but it’s a hard path. This study we did with shame and addiction sort of shows that giving people a healthy way to walk that path is slower, but it’s more surefooted.
“It seems to me that it would be far better stoutly to avow our spiritual poverty, our symbol-lessness, instead of feigning a legacy to which we are not the legitimate heirs at all. We are, surely, the rightful heirs of Christian symbolism, but somehow we have squandered this heritage. We have let the house our fathers built fall into decay, and now we try to break into Oriental palaces that our fathers never knew. Anyone who has lost the historical symbols and cannot be satisfied with substitutes is certainly in a very difficult position today: before him there yawns the void, and he turns away from it in horror. What is worse, the vacuum gets filled with absurd political and social ideas, which one and all are distinguished by their spiritual bleakness.”
― C.G. Jung, The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious
Whatever they once said to their authors, they scream their message of no message across the millennia to us now.
A lithography before words: something painted in marks on the stone, something that communicates not one or another specific meaning, but the ultimate irrelevancy of meaning itself. Whatever they once said to their authors, they scream their message of no message across the millennia to us now. I am not a word. I am not to be understood. And this world is full of things which are not to be understood, if only you knew how to read them.
“The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent everything becomes clear and undisguised. Make the smallest distinction, however, and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart. If you wish to see the truth then hold no opinion for or against. The struggle of what one likes and what one dislikes is the disease of the mind.”
"Living in the present moment doesn’t mean that you discard your goals, whether that means having a nice car that’s paid for, moving your family to a better home or safer neighborhood, or losing weight. It means remaining oriented to the here and now as you work towards your aspirations."
“Experience is, for me, the highest authority. The touchstone of validity is my own experience. No other person’s ideas, and none of my own ideas, are as authoritative as my experience. It is to experience that I must return again and again, to discover a closer approximation to truth as it is in the process of becoming in me.”
"My journey has taught me that living with a derailing mental illness does not necessarily have a silver lining, but it does afford a certain opportunity to fully immerse oneself in not taking the mundane for granted. Sitting with a hot cup of coffee in the morning, listening to the rain, snuggling with a pet, or hearing gravel crunch under your shoes…any moment of simply existing in the present, no matter how small, is an accomplishment."