Monthly Archives: July 2013

Lin Yutang

WHAT IS LUCK ?

LIN YUTANG

The peculiar contribution of Taoism to the creation of the idle temperament lies in the recognition that there are no such things as luck and adversity. The great Taoist teaching is the emphasis on being over doing, character over achievement, and calm over action. But inner calm is only possible when man is not disturbed by the vicissitudes of fortune. The great Taoist philosopher LIEH TSE gave the famous parable of the OLD MAN AT THE FORT:
An old man was living with his son at an abandoned fort on top of a hill, and one day he lost his horse. The neighbours came to express their sympathy for his misfortune, and the old man asked ” How do you know this is bad luck ? ” A few days afterwards, his horse returned with a number of wild horses, and his neighbours came again to congratulate him on his stroke of fortune, and the old man replied, ” How do you know this is good luck ? ” With so many horses around his son began to take to riding, and one day he broke his leg. Again the neighbours came around to express their sympathy, and the old man replied, ” How do you know this is bad luck ? ” The next year, there was a war, and because the old man’s son was crippled, he did not have to go to the front…….

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Zen

“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labour and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.“

Zen Buddhist text

I Ching

On becoming too ambitious we then expect that our efforts should generate visible progress. We must be willing to see things through without looking for visible progress. Only a steady, persevering disengagement and inner independence, by which we remain true to our higher nature, will win in the end.

Seung Sahn

Deep in the mountains, the great temple bell is struck. You hear it reverberating in the morning air, and all thoughts disappear from your mind. There is nothing that is you, there is nothing that is not you. There is only the sound of the bell, filling the whole universe. Springtime comes. You see the flowers blossoming, the butterflies flitting about, you hear the birds singing, you breathe in the warm weather and your mind is only springtime. It is nothing at all.

Thoughts for treading the path….

Start the day fresh by asking yourself the question: “ What if everything I believe in is wrong?” Play around with the question. Try to be creative and imaginative. Look for evidence to support new propositions, new ideas. Then, when you next meet people who throw up opposing points of view to your own continue in the new practice.

“A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.”
William James.

Some may consider us hard wired to thinking; a practice we habitually undertake in dealing with the world around us – an essential prerequisite to personal functioning. But are we addicted to this process? I ask this question simply because compulsive, habitual thinking can drain us of vital energy. It’s a repetitive practice that tends divert us from adopting other approaches. Break free from its influence and seek the soft focused awareness that stems from deep relaxation and meditation. A new world is awaiting your presence.

The true resting place of the mind should be in the breath.

The deeper we go into contemplation the more we recognize and ‘ feel ‘ the abundant gifts that surround us, that inform our lives for the better. And when this happens we cannot help but fall into prayer in thankfulness and gratitude.

We do not know the outer limits of our potential and the imperative is to explore this before it is too late.

There is something great in ALL of us.

We shouldn’t go after the ‘ knowing thing ‘ but a ‘ feeling thing, ‘ this is the real experience.

Often when we achieve something exciting or extraordinary in our lives it has involved taking risks, pushing ourselves in uncomfortable ways, scary at times, sometimes frightening but we do it nevertheless because that’s what we have to do, that’s what we are made of, that’s our journey – there is no other way.

By seeking refuge in stillness and silence we open up the possibility of entering a contemplative mind frame that can reveal essential truths to inform and sustain our lives.

Pursue a practice of mindfulness and increase the aperture of awareness thus making your world that more significant and meaningful.

You’re never too old to make changes in your life that will lead to more growth. In fact you could say the older you get the more potential growth there is available to cultivate because you can draw upon so much life experience to make the right judgements.

Treat life as a life-long journey into adventure. Be daring and bold and you will reap rich rewards.

Live with passion, full of fire for the life you have been given, anything less is a disservice to you and those around you.

A life of under commitment, under achievement is a wasted life so be careful.

Michael Lewin

Thomas Merton

“ I came up here [to his hermitage] from the monastery last night, sloshing through the cornfield, said Vespers, and put some oatmeal on the Coleman stove for supper. It boiled over while I was listening to the rain and toasting a piece of bread at the log fire. The night became very dark. The rain surrounded the whole cabin with its enormous virginal myth, a whole world of meaning, of secrecy, of silence, of rumor. Think of it: all that speech pouring down, selling nothing, judging nobody, drenching the thick mulch of dead leaves, soaking the trees, filling the gullies and crannies of the wood with water, washing out the places where men have stripped the hillside! What a thing it is to sit absolutely alone, in the forest, at night, cherished by this wonderful, unintelligible, perfectly innocent speech, the most comforting speech in the world, the talk that rain makes by itself all over the ridges, and the talk of the watercourses everywhere in the hollows! Nobody started it, nobody is going to stop it. It will talk as long as it wants this rain. As long as it talks I am going to listen.”