Life is fragile, like the dew hanging delicately on the grass, crystal drops that will be carried away on the first morning breeze.
Like a robe wears out over time and turns to rags, life wears out from day to day, from second to second. The basic root of happiness lies in our minds; outer circumstances are nothing more than adverse or favourable. The mind in its natural state can be compared to the sky, covered by layers of cloud which hide its true nature. Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts.
We must make good use of this life for the time that we have left, This brief flash of light, like the sun appearing through the clouds. We can bring our spiritual practice into the streets, into our communities, when we see each realm as a temple, as a place to discover that which is sacred. If one were truly aware of the value of human life, to waste it blithely on distractions and the pursuit of vulgar ambitions would be the height of confusion. Knowledge does not mean mastering a great quantity of different information, but understanding the nature of mind.
When we are mindful, deeply in touch with the present moment, our understanding of what is going on deepens, and we begin to be filled with acceptance, joy, peace and love. Somehow, in the process of trying to deny that things are always changing, we lose our sense of the sacredness of life.
In Buddhism, ignorance as the root cause of suffering refers to a fundamental misperception of the true nature of the self and all phenomena. Great spiritual traditions are used as a means to ripen us, to bring us face to face with our life, and to help us to see in a new way by developing a stillness of mind and a strength of heart. Underneath our ordinary lives, underneath all the talking we do, all the moving we do, all the thoughts in our minds, there’s a fundamental groundlessness.
Feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. Suffering begins to dissolve when we can question the belief or the hope that there’s anywhere to hide.
We are awakened to the profound realization that the true path to liberation is to let go of everything.
You cannot live sheltered forever without being exposed, and at the same time be a spiritual adventurer. We need a repeated discipline, a genuine training, in order to let go of our old habits of mind and to find and sustain a new way of seeing. We must especially learn the art of directing mindfulness into the closed areas of our life. To diminish the suffering of pain, we need to make a crucial distinction between the pain of pain, and the pain we create by our thoughts about the pain.


When the mind is full of memories and preoccupied by the future, it misses the freshness of the present moment. When repeated difficulties do arise, our first spiritual approach is to acknowledge what is present, naming, softly saying ‘sadness, sadness’, or ‘remembering, remembering’, or whatever. Why, if we are as pragmatic as we claim, don’t we begin to ask ourselves seriously: Where does our real future lie? One interesting thing about greed is that although the underlying motive is to seek satisfaction, the irony is that even after obtaining the object of your desire you are still not satisfied.
Children, old people, vagabonds laugh easily and heartily: they have nothing to lose and hope for little.
Without being aware of it, you take many things as being your identity: your body, your race, your beliefs, your thoughts. True freedom means freeing oneself from the dictates of the ego and its accompanying emotions. We can gradually drop our ideals of who we think we ought to be, or who we think we want to be, or who we think other people think we want to be or ought to be. By breaking down our sense of self-importance, all we lose is a parasite that has long infected our minds. Humility does not mean believing oneself to be inferior, but to be freed from self-importance. Ours is a society of denial that conditions us to protect ourselves from any direct difficulty and discomfort. In opening we can see how many times we have mistaken small identities and fearful beliefs for our true nature and how limiting this is. When we let go of our battles and open our hearts to things as they are, then we come to rest in the present moment.
Our lives are lived in intense and anxious struggle, in a swirl of speed and aggression, in competing, grasping, possessing and achieving, forever burdening ourselves with extraneous activities and preoccupations.
Western laziness consists of cramming our lives with compulsive activity, so that there is no time at all to confront the real issues. Simplifying our lives does not mean sinking into idleness, but on the contrary, getting rid of the most subtle aspect of laziness: the one which makes us take on thousands of less important activities. We have only now, only this single eternal moment opening and unfolding before us, day and night.
Mindful and creative, a child who has neither a past, nor examples to follow, nor value judgments, simply lives, speaks and plays in freedom.
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But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Relaxing with the present moment, relaxing with hopelessness, relaxing with death, not resisting the fact that things end, that things pass, that things have no lasting substance, that everything is changing all the time—that is the basic message.
The past is gone, the future is not yet here, and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life. This knowledge can penetrate each one of our thoughts and illuminate each one of our perceptions. The birth of the child is the death of the baby, just as the birth of the adolescent is the death of the child. Fear, anger, guilt, loneliness and helplessness are all mental and emotional responses that can intensify pain.
In this way, we fail to recognize the luminous simplicity of mind that is always present behind the veils of thought.
What we gain in return is freedom, openness of mind, spontaneity, simplicity, altruism: all qualities inherent in happiness. It is a state of natural simplicity which is in harmony with our true nature and allows us to taste the freshness of the present moment. We expend enormous energy denying our insecurity, fighting pain, death and loss and hiding from the basic truths of the natural world and of our own nature. We can touch with great compassion the pain from the contracted identities that we and others have created in the world. The Mindful Word invites you to reprint, copy, distribute, and alter CC-licensed text as long as you provide a clickable link back to The Mindful Word and share-alike. Be crazy in your own way, with that madness in the eyes of man that is wisdom in the eyes of God. Take risks, search and search again, search everywhere, in every way, do not let a single opportunity or chance that life offers pass you by, and do not be petty and mean, trying to drive a hard bargain. We are actually educated into believing that nothing is real beyond what we can perceive with our ordinary senses. It motivates passion, aggression, ignorance, jealousy, and pride, but we never get down to the essence of it.
The force of desire or addiction in the mind to a particular outcome hinders concentration and obscures our natural wisdom.



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