December 31

December, Thoughts For….

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Blog | No Comments

31. Gaily I lived as ease and nature taught,?And spent my little life without a thought,? And am amazed that Death, that tyrant grim, ?Should think of me, who never thought of him. René Francois Regnier

30. We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing. Charles Bukowski

29. The selfish, they’re all standing in line…Faithing and hoping and to buy themselves time. Me, I figure as each breath goes by, I only own my mind….I know I was born and I know that I’ll die. The in between is mine. Pearl Jam, I am Mine

Do you think of your death? Do you wonder what your end will be like? Do you realize before long you will be dead? These questions may seem morbid, but the goal of realizing your death is to embrace life more fully. Time flies, and you will realize this if you haven’t already. Embrace your life, for it will end.

28. The bow is called Life, but its work is death. Heracleitus of Ephesus

27. Everything has been figured out, except how to live. Jean-Paul Sartre

This quote starts my focus on death as a motivator for life. For the next week or so I will be posting quotes in this vein. The goal is not to depress people, but rather to demonstrate how many great thinkers were / are aware that embracing death is a key to living a full life.

26. I wish I was a sacrifice but somehow still lived on. I wish I was a sentimental ornament you hung on the christmas tree. I wish I was the star that went on top. I wish I was the grounds for fifty million hands upraised, and opened toward the sky.

I wish I was a sailor with someone who waited for me. I wish I was as fortunate, as fortunate as me. I wish I was a messenger, and all the news was good. I wish I was the full moon shining off a camaro’s hood. I wish I was an alien, at home behind the sun. I wish I was the souvenir you kept your house key on. I wish I was the pedal break that you depended on. I wish I was the verb “to trust”, and never let you down. I wish I was a radio song, the one that you turned up.

I wish, I wish, I wish, I wish. I guess it never stops. Pearl Jam

While putting songs into a “favorites” playlist in my new ipod, I came across this one on Pearl Jam’s Yield cd. I remember loving this song, but hadn’t heard it in forever. It’s a great song about wanting to be important to someone. It is at times beautifully giving, and even mentions Christmas. At the end it also demonstrates how “wishing” never ends. This makes the point that desire (for things to be different than they are) is the root of suffering.

25. Christmas is the gentlest, loveliest festival of the revolving year – and yet, for all that, when it speaks, its voice has strong authority. W.J. Cameron

24. Be Content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. Lao Tzu

23.Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement. Alfred Adler

22. Conditioning is like a knot that uses the mind as a rope to strangle the heart. David Brazier

21. I don’t have a quote today. Well, that isn’t entirely true, I have books with quotes I want to use highlighted, and I have a document called “quotes for later” that is full of them which I add (and take from) regularly. But I guess what I mean is I have no desire to put one today.

Today I am filled with doubt about the meaning of things, so no quote feels right. Maybe its the reading, and all the quotes about questioning everything. Maybe its recent quotes about doubting everything, and not being too sure of anything. Maybe I’m just in a mood. Whatever the reason, I challenge you to find your own quote today. Create your own meaning. Or just get through the day, whatever feels right.

20. A person is what their deepest desire is. It is our deepest desire in this life that shapes the life to come. So let us direct our deepest desires to realize the self. The Upanishads

19. Its getting hard to tell where what I am ends and what they’re making me begins. The Eels. Climbing to the Moon.

This quote really seemed to go well with yesterday’s.

18. As we grow, we experience. As we experience, we learn. As we learn we run the risk of encapsulating ourself in a shell of set views, the dead bones of experience past. Within our armor of views we start to put our trust in security. We are then affronted by the vicissitudes of life which disturb our illusions. David Brazier, Zen Therapy p.34

Earlier today I posted a quote from a book I am rereading called “Zen Therapy.” I gave some thought to the quote, as well my beliefs regarding relativism. Hopefully this example further makes Dr. Brazier’s point, and more generally Zen’s point, that experience can get in the way of seeing things as they are.

I am in my forties. My oldest child is my daughter who is 21, away at college, and largely self supporting. Yet she appears to me as younger than her 21 years. Without reminding myself I can easily perceive her as a teen. I thought today how different will that be when she is thirty? Because I am her father, because of our roles, because of our experiences, I may never see her as she really is. In all likelihood my parents will never see me as I am. I have witnessed parents who always treat their children as children, even when their children are 50!

Think about this a minute if you will. Think of yourself and your experience. In all likelihood you don’t see yourself the way others see you. Because of our experience, our “learning” as Dr. Brazier calls it in the book, we see things from a position relative to where we stand. Zen is about crashing through this “armor of views” and seeing things as they really are in that moment.

17. Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are. John Wooden

16. Do not be afraid to be yourself. Being authentic is the healthiest choice you can make, and opens the door to all personal growth. Berry

I had been on a bit of a self acceptance kick, and then yesterday moved away from it a bit. But I thought of what I felt would be the most important thing about self acceptance and wanted to add it in. I really believe people are afraid to be themselves, afraid they won’t be liked as much, afraid they’ll be rejected. So we tone ourselves down, we conform to others expectations, we hold some of our feelings in, and we become disingenuous.

This is not to say everyone should run around being inappropriately obnoxious. There is an effective way to express your true self. But express it. If someone makes you angry tell them appropriately. Don’t be afraid to jump into a conversation or throw your opinion in the ring. Give feedback and be receptive to the feedback you receive. You’ll be surprised what this can do for your life.

15. I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures. Lao Tzu

14. To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself. Thich Nhat Hanh

13. Human potential is the same for all. Your feeling, “I am of no value”, is wrong. Absolutely wrong. You are deceiving yourself. We all have the power of thought – so what are you lacking? If you have willpower, then you can change anything. It is usually said that you are your own master. The Dalai Lama

12. There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. Anaïs Nin

11. We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit. e.e. cummings

10. It doesn’t matter what we do until we accept ourselves. Once we accept ourselves, it doesn’t matter what we do. Charly Heavenrich

Much to my chagrin I seem to be becoming one of those new age therapists who seems to constantly focus on one accepting them-self, loving them-self. Like many before me I seem to  perceive this as at least one of the secrets of happiness. Several times yesterday I found myself encouraging others to focus on just loving themselves, caring for themselves, and to stop being so hard on themselves.

I’m not saying its a bad thing I promote this, just a little cliche’ I guess. But the truth is I really wish people would focus on this, and I think the quote above says it eloquently.

9. No Loving – Kindness

There was an old woman in China who had supported a monk for over twenty years. She had built a little hut for him and fed him while he was meditating. Finally she wondered just what progress he had made in all this time.

To find out, she obtained the help of a girl rich in desire. “Go and embrace him,” she told her, “and then ask him suddenly: ‘What now?’”

The girl called upon the monk and without much ado caressed him, asking him what he was going to do about it.

“An old tree grows on a cold rock in winter,” replied the monk somewhat poetically. “Nowhere is there any warmth.”

The girl returned and related what he had said.

“To think I fed that fellow for twenty years!” exclaimed the old woman in anger. “He showed no consideration for your need, no disposition to explain your condition. He need not have responded to passion, but at least he could have evidenced some compassion;”

She at once went to the hut of the monk and burned it down. From the website 101 Zen Stories, which can be found on my companion site, zeneveryman

8.Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies. Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

7. Our beliefs about the world can be justified neither by inductive reasoning nor by causal necessity; the perceived patterns and uniformity in nature are merely a matter of habit and custom. David Hume paraphrased by Ben Dupre’

6. As the rain on a mountain peak runs off the slopes on all sides, so those who see only the seeming multiplicity of life run after things on every side. The Upanishads

5. Over the ages it has been noted that merely observing the mind tends to increase one’s level of consciousness. A mind which is being watched becomes more humble and begins to relinquish its claim to omniscience. David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D.

4. Beliefs are of no use. For my part, I’ll be having none of it. Belief, disbelief or no belief at all in that which is True never once altered the Truth of a matter. Nathaniel Dolan

3. All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become. Buddha

2. Real practice has orientation or direction, but it has no purpose or gaining idea, so it can include everything that comes. Shunryu Suzuki

1. Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it. Andre Gide

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This entry was posted on Friday, December 31st, 2010 at 7:15 AM and is filed under Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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