Searching for spring all day, I never saw it,
straw sandals treading everywhere
among the clouds, along the banks.
Coming home, I laughed, catching
the plum blossom’s scent:
spring at each branch tip, already perfect.
~ unknown zen nun from the Song Dynasty (trans. by Sam Hammill and J.P. Seaton, The Poetry of Zen)
In life, there are brief and momentary opportunities that ask us to assert our existence. Although a creative impulse, they can be destructive, because they make us veer away from our normal patterns and habits. Life is compelling us to take these small acts of rebellion so we can go beyond the edges of ourselves, and by doing so, we end up rediscovering ourselves. These moments are a great reminder that, like all other animals, we are, and will always be, wild.
~ Kamand Kojouri
What good is a dream that doesn’t test the mettle of the dreamer? What good is a path that doesn’t carry us to the edge of our capacity and then beyond that place? A true calling involves a great exposure before it can become a genuine refuge.
~ Michael Meade, Fate and Destiny, The Two Agreements of the Soul
I wake up, open my eyes, and a world appears. It is a familiar world – more so than usual in these days of semi-lockdown – but even more familiar is the experience of ‘self’ – of being me – that glides into consciousness at more-or-less the same time. This experience of selfhood is so mundane that its appearance goes by entirely unnoticed, unless actively paid attention to. We take our selves for granted, but we shouldn’t.
~ Anil Seth, Catching Sight of Yourself
Beauty kick-starts our attention. The real sublime. To behold it is almost scary because we suddenly have a longing to stand for something. Beauty not as generic but specific, troubling in what it may call forth in us.
Sometimes you are privileged with a glimpse of the other world, when the light shines up from the west as the sun sets and dazzles something wet. The world is just water and light, a slide show through which your spirit glides.
Walking on the land or digging in the fine soil I am intensely aware that time quivers slightly, changes occurring in imperceptible and minute ways, accumulating so subtly that they seem not to exist. Yet the tiny shifts in everything–cell replication, the rain of dust motes, lengthening hair, wind-pushed rocks–press inexorably on and on.
When I walk — which I do every day, as basic sanity-maintenance, whether in the forest or the cemetery or the city street — I walk the same routes, walk along loops, loops I often retrace multiple times in a single walk. This puzzles people. Some simply don’t get the appeal of such recursiveness. Others judge it as dull. But I walk to think more clearly, which means to traverse the world with ever-broadening scope of attention to reality, ever-widening circles of curiosity, ever-deepening interest in the ceaselessly flickering constellation of details within and without.
~ Maria Popova, Brain Pickings (Loops, Language, the Paradoxical Loneliness of “I Love You,” and What Keeps Love Alive)