Life is like that. We don’t know anything. We call something bad; we call it good. But really we just don’t know.
It’s a nice feeling to just be.
Welcome the present moment as if you had invited it. It is all we ever have so we might as well work with it rather than struggling against it. We might as well make it our friend and teacher rather than our enemy.
Things are as bad and as good as they seem. There’s no need to add anything extra.
Start now. Start where you are. Start with fear. Start with pain. Start with doubt. Start with hands shaking. Start with voice trembling but start. Start and don’t stop. Start where you are, with what you have. Just… start.
It helps to remember that our practice is not about accomplishing anything – not about winning or losing – but about ceasing to struggle and relaxing as it is. That is what we are doing when we sit down to meditate. That attitude spreads into the rest of our lives.
At the root of all the harm we cause is ignorance.
That nothing is static or fixed, that all is fleeting and impermanent, is the first mark of existence.
One can appreciate and celebrate each moment — there’s nothing more sacred. There’s nothing more vast or absolute. In fact, there’s nothing more!
Patience is the antidote to anger, a way to learn to love and care for whatever we meet on the path.
Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life; it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life.
Pain is not a punishment. Pleasure is not a reward.
The more you just try to get it your way, the less you feel at home.
We are like children building a sand castle. We embellish it with beautiful shells, bits of driftwood, and pieces of colored glass. The castle is ours, off limits to others. We’re willing to attack if others threaten to hurt it. Yet despite all our attachment, we know that the tide will inevitably come in and sweep the sand castle away. The trick is to enjoy it fully but without clinging, and when the time comes, let it dissolve back into the sea.
The most difficult times for many of us are the ones we give ourselves.
Suffering usually relates to wanting things to be different from the way they are.
We don’t sit in meditation to become good meditators. We sit in meditation so that we’ll become more awake in our lives.
Resentment, bitterness, and holding a grudge prevent us from seeing and hearing, and tasting and delighting.
Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already.
Trying to run away is never the answer to being fully human.
When things are shaky and nothing is working, we might realize that we are on the verge of something.
Don’t let life harden your heart.
All situations teach you, and often it’s the tough ones that teach you best.
Usually, it is our attachment to relationships, material wealth, our status, etc., that causes our suffering. The only way to experience true happiness is to accept that change is inevitable and by never becoming attached to anything.
Don’t let people pull you into their storm. Pull them into your peace.
One of the happiest moments ever is when you find the courage to let go of what you can’t change.
When there’s a big disappointment, we don’t know if that’s the end of the story. It may be just the beginning of a great adventure.
It is lack of love for ourselves that inhibits our compassion toward others. If we make friends with ourselves, then there is no obstacle to opening our hearts and minds to others.
We have two alternatives: either we question our beliefs – or we don’t. Either we accept our fixed versions of reality- or we begin to challenge them. In Buddha’s opinion, to train in staying open and curious – to train in dissolving our assumptions and beliefs – is the best use of our human lives.
In a nutshell, when life is pleasant, think of others. When life is a burden, think of others.
When we are willing to stay even a moment with uncomfortable energy, we gradually learn not to fear it.
The more we witness our emotional reactions and understand how they work, the easier it is to refrain.
The happiness we seek is already here and it will be found through letting go rather than through struggle.
The only reason we don’t open our hearts and minds to other people is that they trigger confusion in us that we don’t feel brave enough or sane enough to deal with. To the degree that we look clearly and compassionately at ourselves, we feel confident and fearless about looking into someone else’s eyes.
Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.
We can learn to rejoice in even the smallest blessings our life holds. It is easy to miss our own good fortune; often happiness comes in ways we don’t even notice.
If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.
We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart.
The more we make friends with ourselves, the more we can see that our ways of shutting down and closing off are rooted in the mistaken thinking that the way to get happy is to blame somebody else.
To be fully alive, fully human and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again.
In practicing meditation, we’re not trying to live up to some kind of ideal — quite the opposite. We’re just being with our experience, whatever it is.
All the wars, all the hatred, all the ignorance in the world come out of being so invested in our opinions.
Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.
We have a choice. We can spend our whole life suffering because we can’t relax with how things really are, or we can relax and embrace the open-endedness of the human situation, which is fresh, unfixated, unbiased.
Interrupting our destructive habits and awakening our heart is the work of a lifetime.
Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions.
Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all.
The truth you believe and cling to makes you unavailable to hear anything new.
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