"You see dear reader (speaking frankly, without any intention to offend), you are a ramshackle collection of coincidences held together by a desperate and irrational clinging..."
~ John Burdett
"Is there inherent value in real experiences, whether pleasurable or painful? Do you yourself have more value when you're experiencing real life's pleasures and pains?"
"What is this addiction? We have destabilized much of the world with our addiction. We’ve created a drug economy in Afghanistan, in Thailand, in Bolivia and we’ve caused turmoil in Guatemala and now we have elevated thugs in Mexico to the status of billionaires with our despair. And yet, we are an optimistic people."
~ Richard Rodriguez
"What happens when, just for a moment, we stay with our pain, our fear, our doubt, our discomfort, our grief, our broken heart, even our numbness, without trying to change it, or fix it, or numb ourselves to it, or get rid of it in any way? What happens when, even when we feel like leaving, abandoning the moment for the promise of a future salvation, we stay, sitting with the raw, unfiltered, boundlessly alive life-energy that is simply trying to express right now?" ~ Jeff Foster
"The more personal you are willing to be and the more intimate you are willing to be about the details of your own life, the more universal you are."
~ Sherwin Nuland
"The first step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one...We can't really expect to find an answer when we're still afraid of the question....The only way we're going to beat a problem that people are battling alone is by standing strong together."
Will you provide a home for the unwanted? Will you offer refuge for the intensity that is surging through you? Will you grant asylum to your own confusion? Will your give safe harbor to your grief, your sadness, and your despair? Will you risk everything to know how whole you really are?
As a little one, it was intelligent to split off from overwhelming emotional experience; it was an act of kindness and creativity to disembody in order to protect your developing nervous system. It is all so fragile, really. You opened your world to those around you, to get what you needed; you were wired for love. It was too much to hold it all, though, to let in the disappointment and the abandonment, and the possibility that you were not lovable exactly as you were. This you could not let in. Your little heart could not absorb the implications.
But these disowned parts of you — these fragments of fear, pieces of sadness, and particles of shame; even the shards of joy, great excitement, and other undigested “positive” experiences – are calling for you. They are knocking at the door of your body and your heart, seeking a sanctuary where they can finally be touched and metabolized. What you are is love itself, a luminous space of pure awareness, with a capacity to hold and transform whatever comes into your experience. You are a vast field of intelligence; your body is made of the stars.
Friends, will you continue to turn from these orphaned ones within? Or will you allow them to finally come inside? Will you receive the transmission that they have come to bestow? Yes, it may appear that they have arrived as agents of darkness and despair, but things are rarely as they seem. These ones have come as light in disguise to unlock a secret inside you.
The more clearly you see how your aversion to pain perpetuates suffering, the more willing you are to experience it. If pain happens and you fight it, you just make matters worse. Or, if something painful is happening in your life, but you’re avoiding it, you render yourself unable to take effective action.
When I first started this path, all I wanted was relief. But mindfulness isn't simply palliative; it’s curative. Mindfulness reaches down to the very roots of suffering while keeping your feet firmly planted in the groundless.
"I would suggest that it is a good in itself to acknowledge, to have enlarged, one's sense of how much suffering there is in the world we share with others. I would insist that anyone who is perennially surprised that depravity exists, who continues to experience disillusionment (even incredulity) when confronted with evidence of what humans are capable of inflicting in the way of gruesome, hands-on cruelties upon other humans has not reached moral or psychological adulthood.
No one after a certain age has the right to this kind of innocence, of superficiality, to this degree of ignorance, of amnesia.
We now have a vast repository of images that make it harder to preserve such moral defectiveness. Let the atrocious images haunt us. Even if they are only tokens and cannot encompass all the reality of a people's agony, they still serve an immensely positive function. The image says: keep these events in your memory."
See also: Don McCullin
"I now fully believe there are people who spread pain wherever they go. They aren’t necessarily bad like a Hitler or some other outsized villains. Often they are just you and me’s trying to live their lives. But somehow pain bringers are cursed with a dark talent for making things go bad; leaving behind them suspiciously long trails of angry broken hearts, or dreams, or plans...
Whether it’s conscious or unconscious they continuously mess life up, or make jobs harder for others to do, confuse where confusion is not necessary, grate where smoothness was once the norm before they arrived. It can be on a small scale or large. Whenever they enter a life or situation they tramp a kind of psychic mud onto clean floors that is difficult to clean and sometimes permanently stains.
Now and then these people are unquestionably mean or selfish, but not as a rule. Like those poor souls who are struck by lightning again and again for some mysterious reason throughout their lives, pain bringers only have to become involved in something and too frequently for it to be chance or coincidence, they cause it to go south in very negative ways.
I was thinking about this for a long time today and could specifically name three people I have known who fall into this category. You couldn’t identify it by looking at any of them. They’re often compelling, passionate, funny, capable, alluring, attractive, or even generous people. But bond with them in any other than a superficial way and you can almost be certain you’ll be hit by their lightning. Beyond any doubt it will leave some kind of nasty scorch mark on your psyche/heart/life/business/confidence/values/beliefs/soul or otherwise."
First, it will comfort you to know there are crows.
And calipers for measuring the amount of sunshine
that can escape from under the shadows
of thought. Far out at sea ships go down
in a crippled light, and bunches of black iris
are sent to the remaining crew.
You, too, shall have lived and died
a jot, with the queer feeling you were vast and
ageless, with a good education in sleep, prepared
to die with one regret, that you could not devote
more years in vain. And no one could do nothing
but let it happen. Whatever was tied to the mast
the waves have come — here they are:
after anxiety turns into pain and pain
turns into rain and the rain
into a doorbell on the face,
the forehead splits open.
Crows come for that speck of gold
you were saving for you eyelids at the point of death
and turn away, wildly happy.