One purpose of our practice is to enjoy our old age. But we can’t fool ourselves. Only sincere practice will work.
We have been conditioned to withdraw our awareness from the unpleasant. Break that imprinting! Whatever limits the entrance of awareness limits healing. When it’s “the” pain, it has the whole universe to float in; when it’s “my” pain, I’m standing alone in it.
Once we know that we can’t let go of anything we don’t accept, the noting brings us into the presence of that which so often distracts us from the present.
For those of us who are patient and determined in our practice, joy increases; peace increases; the ability to live a beneficial and compassionate life increases.
And the life which can be hurt by the whims of outside circumstances subtly alters. This slowly transforming life is not, however, a life of no problems, they will be there. For a time our life may feel worse than before, as what we have concealed becomes clear. But even as this occurs, we have a sense of growing sanity and understanding, of basic satisfaction.
We learn in our guts, not just in our brain, that a life of joy is not in seeking happiness, but in experiencing and simply being the circumstances of our life as they are; not in fulfilling personal wants, but in fulfilling the needs of life; not in avoiding pain, but in being pain when it is necessary to do so. Too large an order? Too hard? On the contrary, it is the easy way.
Charlotte Joko Beck
Our suffering is us, and we need to treat it with kindness and nonviolence. We need to embrace our fear, hatred, anguish, and anger. “My dear suffering. I know you are there. I am here for you, and I will take care of you.” we stop running from our pain. With all our courage and tenderness, we recognize, acknowledge, and identify it.
Thich Nhat Hanh
The wind whistles in the bamboo
and the bamboo dances.
When the wind stops,
the bamboo grows still.
A silver bird
flies over the autumn lake.
When it has passed,
the lake’s surface does not try
to hold on to the image of the bird.