Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. —Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Most of what enters our immediate experience
is there for our pure enjoyment–
the beautiful colors, the sounds,
the quality of the light, the air,
the water we drink, the food we eat,
the company we keep.
The deeper we look, the more we see
what we have to be grateful for.
When you look out at the world,
if it looks like everything is broken,
Perhaps it is your perception that needs fixing.
We all come around
in our own time, at our own pace,
in our own way.
You cannot plant a seed
and expect it to sprout one hour later,
and bear fruit the next day–
that is pure folly.
But you can plant the seed
and tend to it,
create the best possible conditions
for the seed to sprout, grow, bloom,
and give of itself completely.
So it is with each human being,
so it is with this world.
Just start today
choosing to see the perfection of life
for five whole minutes.
Prepared to be amazed
as you look out on the world
with the eyes of innocence once again.
My mind is cluttered,
I see nothing that is there.
I am full of misery and regret
over the past I cannot change,
anxiety and urgency
about the future I cannot know.
And then something wakes me up,
snaps me out of it,
out of the dream of temporal reality.
It might be a breeze
or the bright sunlight
or a sound filtering in from outside
or my cat rubbing up against my leg,
but something wakes me up
and suddenly it all becomes clear.
The shapes and lines my eyes perceive
are so crisp and clear
and there is a luminous quality to everything.
It is so simple and so beautiful all at once.
This is it, I realize,
this is my life.
I feel content.
There is nothing to be added or taken away,
I need nothing to feel fulfilled.
This is such a blessed place to be,
no big deal
and the entire universe
all at once.
Your thoughts give rise to your perception
which shapes your actions
which build your reality
which determines your experience of Life.
Look inside your mind.
What picture do your thoughts paint there?
If you do not like this picture,
paint a new one.
What you see in your mind
is ultimately your choice,
the only choice you can make really…
and it is your most basic power.
How will you wield it?
If we didn’t have labels
like male or female
who exactly would we be?
If there were no concept
of young and old
or right and wrong,
how would this change
our way of relating to one another?
If we simply couldn’t believe the story
of up or down
left or right
north, south, east, or west,
where would we find ourselves?
Close your eyes.
Bathe yourself in the oneness of being.
Ah, that’s better now.
The answers are inside.
Close your eyes,
take a breath,
You might think the world
makes you angry, sad,
your thoughts shape your life,
and everything you see
is a projection of your own mind.
This is good news!
This means that we can choose
happiness, calm, peace, and fulfillment
at any point,
regardless of what is happening
outside of us.
The answers are inside.
If you do not go within,
you will certainly go without.
My mind, trying to free itself,
is wandering between two worlds–
hell, and reality.
Hell is all of my stressful thoughts,
my judgments, my cherished beliefs,
my criticisms of others,
my stories about lack and injustice.
Reality is where I stop fighting
the shadows of my mind,
look in, and shine the light of inquiry
into every hidden nook and cranny.
It’s as if I’ve stepped out into the sun
for the first time
and am blinded by the brightness.
Every little thing is a miracle,
it is all good.
I can relax,
I can see myself and others,
the way we suffer
when we are caught in our own stories.
I notice the hope
that I can stay awake
and the fear that I will fail.
This is just another story to be questioned.
The witness in me can watch my mind wander
from one world to the other,
amused, contemplating the journey.
Sometimes little tendrils of hope spring up
like dandelions in the concrete
and life surprises me by being sweet
and real and honest.
I think in truth
there is so much goodness
in this crazy spinning world
but my thoughts kick me out of Heaven.
I have to wake myself up
out of my own trance.
I have to do this over and over
and over again.
Today I woke up a few times.
I woke up enough
to deepen a friendship
and sense the basic goodness
underlying the constant play
of physical phenomena
and all of the illusions
projected by my own skewed vision.
Today some little tendrils of hope
wound their way around my heart, my mind,
and now I see a little garden in the concrete.