letting go…

“Letting go does not mean not caring about things. It means caring about them in a flexible and wise way.”
~ Jack Kornfield

…far from indifference, letting go is about being spacious and at ease, even as we are actively engaged with Life. i think it speaks to a trust of Life and Love as something vast. something that is the very ground upon which we stand. a place where we don’t have to be defensive or reactive, rather we can be in a state of mind where we can choose the way we want to act…hopefully without harming or adding to the suffering of this world.

~ j

simplicity, humility, grief on the Path…

“Thinking about Joshu: One of the most beloved masters in early China was Joshu, admired for his economy and spirit. Zen Master Joshu was born in 778 CE and became a monk when he was 18 years of age. He stayed with his teacher Nansen for 40 years. When Nansen died, Joshu grieved for some years, and then, at the age of 60, after his grief had worn through, he said “I think I’m going to wander around for a while.” He spent the next 20 years traveling about China, visiting various Zen teachers and letting them check his mind. He was checking their minds too.

At the age of 80 he thought, “It’s time to settle down now,” and he became the head of a small temple, where students would come and go, and he would have quiet, pointed interactions with those who met him. It was said that a kind of light shown around his mouth, he was so direct, purified, simple, non-greedy about his own mind and his own practice. Modest and having submitted for so long, he became who he really was. He died at the age of 120, and thus he had the advantage, once he had settled down at the age of 80, to have another 40 years of discovery, enjoying peculiar and unmediated interactions with those who found their way to his modest temple.”

~ Roshi Joan Halifax

i don’t know that it is important to believe the specifics of this story, as some have questioned.

rather, the power for me is in the message of the story, the simplicity of purpose, the humility of spirit. i really connected with these.

i am always impressed by the amount of grief these stories expose of students when their masters/teachers pass. so beautiful, so human and sacred. the path of awakening is not something that helps us escape these heavy things in life, but the practice gives us the grounding to sit, to walk, and to live with it…and what we find is that we have this heart with an incredible capacity to hold Life.

thank you for sharing, Roshi Joan.

~ j

the role of suffering in awakening…

“There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”
~ Carl Jung

this is the second time i’ve seen this Jung quote recently and its theme feels so present both on the micro level for my own journey and on the macro level in seeing the way the world is facing things regarding economics and the environment….all the while looking for quick ways to end the suffering without facing our own shadow’s relationship to this. i am reminded that “stuff” doesn’t just go away…it may be suppressed for a while, but it must rise and make itself known. when we do finally face it and recognize it and know it, then – then healing and transformation can take their rightful place.

namasté, friends ~ j

Transformational living…

“Give me everything mangled and bruised, and I will make a light of it to make you weep. And we will have rain & begin again.” ~ Deena Metzger

i simply love the emphasis on transformation within this selected piece of writing by Deena Metzger. the well known Franciscan Richard Rohr often says that what we don’t “transform” we then often “transmit”. there is something so connected and intuitively right on with these messages of tranformation. within such a perspective, everything EVERYTHING is grist for the mill. is this not incarnation? don’t we see that this path, this sacred journey has been tread before? lived out in the life of Jesus, grounded in the sitting of the Buddha? and did not they both invite us to experience this and to live this ourselves?

we have the profound ability to take the ugliest of hurts and make them beautiful, to shine our light – setting aglow all that is sacred here and now. what’s more, is that we have the divine right and even responsibility to do so. the capacity of heart to hold the entire world, knowing it in Love, so that it can be recognized for what it is.


~ j

Roshi Joan Halifax quote…

“What does refuge point to? What does it mean to come home, to be free from suffering, to be sheltered by a big and open sky? Thich Nhat Hanh once said that ‘the moment of awakening is marked by an outburst of laughter. But this is not the laughter of someone who suddenly acquires a great fortune. Neither is it the laughter of one who has won a great victory. It is, rather, the laughter of one who after having painfully searched for something a very long time finds it one morning in the pocket of his coat.’ This freedom is here within us at this very moment. Freedom then reveals the love that is also present and possible within our lives and between us.”
~ Roshi Joan Halifax

quote from the Talmud…

“Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.”
~ Talmud

…what an incredibly present reminder that we are simply instruments. opening our hearts, being present and aware, we simply do our part with ours lives as they are and have been given.

~ j

being the question…

yes, yes, yes! friends, please read…

“If we attempt to explain the experience of ‘being the question,’ we can only talk around it. Because ‘being’ is an experience, and the moment we try to describe it we shut down around an idea. But perhaps we could attempt to describe it by saying that being the question has something to do with our ability to tolerate or bear witness to the full expressions of experience, rather than closing down around them and then reacting to them through our preferences.”

~ Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyal, “The Power of an Open Question”