WHAT ARE WE MISSING?
“Hurry ruins saints as well as artists.”
― Thomas Merton, Seeds of Contemplation
WHEN it comes to change, what are we missing? Most people spend countless hours dreaming of change or trying to change:themselves or others. Yet, change seems to come in its own way, often for reasons unknown. Still, the struggle to and for change continues unabated. Clearly, some changes are absolutely necessary. Change for the better, in a hospital, can save lives, for instance, and we all could list a multitude of beneficial changes in our lives. What would be your top five?
Not long ago, though, I ran across this statement in a book I was reading: “When we struggle to change ourselves we, in fact, only continue the patterns of self-judgement and aggression. We keep the war against ourselves alive.” ― Jack Kornfield, A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life
- Does Kornfield have a useful point?
- I try to ask myself this question whenever I encounter an intriguing thought. What new insights might it offer, for instance? And of course context is always important, so that’s probably the first thing to explore. Reading on in the book, for instance.
But how often do we fail to consider CONTEXT in any situation or conversation? Usually it illuminates and provides key details that we may have overlooked. Ignoring context can lead to hasty and incomplete impressions. Someone’s actions or behavior may make perfect sense when put in context. Yet usually we rush to grasp at understanding, instead of pausing long enough to truly understand.
- The headline mentality we considered last week comes to mind.
Another good spiritual practice, if you are looking for one, is to commit to learning the context of what you “think” you are observing on the surface. This may take time. And patience. And an open-mind. But consider the possible benefits … greater harmony with those around you, for instance. In building a better bridge between individuals, we can indirectly begin to build better bridges on a larger scale. But you might want to start with the people you see each day … bringing those primary relationships into the light of awareness and genuine understanding. We “assume to know” with such ease; yet, we assume incorrectly so often.
So, yes, we can continue to complain about the big picture, politics and such, ad infinitum, but the real challenge (and opportunity) is always found in our immediate surroundings. The rest is primarily a distraction from our own issues and frustrations and dreams. Granted, it takes a strong heart to remain focused on what is actually within reach, and truly relevant, but most everything has a beginning: a starting point that somehow can’t be overlooked, sidestepped, or minimized. This premise almost seems to be one of the laws of the universe. Stated simply: first things first. ~ dh
Here are some words of wisdom for your spring meditation.
“The moment you accept what troubles you’ve been given, the door will open.” ~ Rumi
All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone. ― Blaise Pascal
“Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted …but to weigh and consider.” ― Francis Bacon
“To listen even when we don’t understand, especially when we don’t understand, is a gift.” — Mark Nepo, Seven Thousand Ways to Listen
“In any setting, we can allow a gap and let natural openness come to us. Find a way to slow down.” — Pema Chodron
“I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.” — Lao Tzu
“You enter the forest at the darkest point, where there is no path. Where there’s a way or path, it is someone else’s path; each human being is a unique phenomenon.” ~ Joseph Campbell, Pathways to Bliss
“You cannot transmit wisdom and insight to another person. The seed is already there. A good teacher touches the seed, allowing it to wake up, to sprout, and to grow.” — Thich Nhat Hanh
“Expecting is the greatest impediment to living. In anticipation of tomorrow, it loses today.” ~ Seneca
“Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an intelligence and make it a soul?” ― John Keats, Letters of John Keats
“We are here to find that dimension within ourselves that is deeper than thought.” ~ Eckhart Tolle (Findhorn Retreat: Stillness Amidst the World)
Thanks so much for stopping by SunnyRoomStudio.
See you again next Friday, April 10, for a new blog post. Until then, I will be on spring break.
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