”Recalling these teachings as I ride my bike so freely in the sunset through Bali, I keep making prayers that are really vows, presenting my state of harmony to God and saying, ‘This is what I would like to hold on to. Please help me memorize this feeling of contentment and help me always support it.’ I’m putting this happiness in a bank somewhere, not merely FDIC protected but guarded by my four spirit brothers, held there as insurance against future trials in life.
This is a practice I’ve come to call ‘Diligent Joy.’ As I focus on Diligent Joy, I also keep remembering a simple idea my friend Darcy told me once—-that all the sorrow and trouble of this world is caused by unhappy people. Not only in the big global Hitler-‘n’-Stalin picture, but also on the smallest personal level.
Even in my own life, I can see exactly where my episodes of unhappiness have brought suffering or distress or (at the very least) inconvenience to those around me. The search for contentment is, therefore, not merely a self-preserving and self-benefitting act, but also a generous gift to the world.
Clearing out all your misery gets you out of the way. You cease being an obstacle, not only to yourself but to anyone else. Only then are you free to serve and enjoy other people.”
”Three strands in a braid of sweet grass. They represent three spiritual qualities—-maybe love, kindness, humility. When I smudge myself, I purify myself in those qualities. I prepare myself for my day with the strength of those spiritual qualities. The smoke clings to my hair, my clothes, and it remains in the air of my home. As I move through the day and smell that fragrance, I am reminded of how I have chosen to live—-and in that is the power of greeting each day with reverence, calm, and prayer. That is how I learn to direct my humanity toward peace, equality, and harmony: one day, one person, one circumstance at a time.”
—-Richard Wagamese, Embers, One Ojibway’s Meditations p.45
”Nature reminds us that we cannot hold on forever. Only with letting go can new life come. . . . So autumn always makes me wonder what I am holding on to. What is it that I am afraid to let go of? . . . What must be put aside so that spring can arrive?”
—-John Izzo, Second Innocence: Rediscovering Joy and Wonder
“From the grasses in the field to the stars in the sky, each one is doing just that; and there is such profound peace and surpassing beauty in nature because none of these tries forcibly to transgress its limitations.” —-Rabindranath Tagore
“A good practitioner is not someone who no longer has any anger or suffering. This is not possible. A good practitioner is someone who knows how to take good care of her anger and suffering as soon as they arise. Someone who does not practice does not know how to handle the energy of anger when it manifests, and he or she can easily be overwhelmed by anger.”
—-Thich Nhat Hanh, Anger Wisdom for Cooling the Flames
“Then as you get distracted by everyday life, you begin to forget this new perspective and your focus slips from your Person Dream to the Dream of the Planet. Your harmony is shaken as you give in to the illusion. But before long, you have another moment of clarity, and you start the process again—-this time with a little more resolve and a little more experience.”
—-Don Miguel Ruiz, Jr., Living a Life of Awareness, p.196