Letters

Be patient towards all that is unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms, like books written in a foreign tongue. Do not now strive to uncover answers: they cannot be given to you because you have not been able to live them.”

“We are placed into life as into the element with which we are the most affinity, and moreover we have after thousands of years adaptation come to resemble this life so closely that if we keep still we can, thanks to our facility for mimicry, hardly be distinguished from all that surrounds us. We have no reason to be mistrustful of our world, for it is not against us. If it holds terrors they are our terrors, if it has its abysses these abysses belong to us, if there are dangers we must try to love them. And if we only organize our life according to the principle which teaches us always to hold to what is difficult, then what now still appears most foreign will become our most intimate and most reliable experience… Perhaps everything terrifying is deep down a helpless thing that needs our help.”

“One day there will be girls and women whose name will no longer just signify the opposite male but something in their own right, something which does not make one think of any supplement or limit but only of life and existence: the female human being. This step forward (at first against the will of the men who are left behind) will transform the experience of love, which is now full of error, alter it root and branch, reshape it into a relation between two human beings and no longer between man and woman. And this more human form of love (which will be performed in infinitely gentle and considerate fashion, true and clear in its creating of bonds and dissolving of them) will resemble the one we are struggling and toiling to prepare the way for, the love that consists in two solitudes protecting, defining, and welcoming one another.”

“Why do you want to persecute yourself with the question of where it all comes from and where it is leading? You well know you are in a period of transition and want nothing more than to be transformed.”

 

– Rainer Maria Rilke
Letters to a Young Poet

 

You & I

“The self

is the way we organize reality. It is mutable. Ephemeral. It’s an organizing structure that arises and is always completely embedded in relational reality. It’s never apart from that relational reality. That’s it. It’s pretty simple.

Oftentimes when people hear the teachings of no-self, they think that no self exists, or that no self should exist. But that’s not what it means. The teachings of no-self mean that we are not fixed, we are not permanent, separate, isolated. We are this dynamic reality. We are as Dōgen says: a flower of emptiness. A mutable articulation of reality.

So the teachings of no-self are not aimed at erasing ordinary personality or diminishing our worth, our needs, our vitality.

The self is not a problem to be solved or an obstacle to be obliterated. Quite the opposite. The teachings are about liberation from constricted states of suffering. Liberation from the delusions that we have about the self. They aim for our full participation, with kindness and clear thinking. 

It’s also true that when we let these teachings sink in, when we allow them to touch us, they are deeply, deeply challenging. Because they ask us to risk a new way of being…

Releasing the hold on the self is a necessary and radical event that is liberating. It is also a process that leaves the practitioner to the edge of the known and beyond. The practice requires a willingness to allow everything on which one has relied and what is most intimately known — the self and one’s notions about the nature of reality — to shift and change.

If we look closely at this process, we find the ability to allow it is intimately linked with our experience of trust. And it requires an encounter with trust. Ultimately, it requires trust in

life itself.”

-Rev. Dr. Daijaku Judith Kinst
SF Zen Center

 

Becoming a writer

 

What type of people decide to become writers? How much self-confidence does it take to decide one day: “I’m going to be a writer.” What level of self-indulgent satisfaction must one reach before they finally hit send; publish.

I imagine them jotting shit down at an elegantly disheveled desk. Writing with feverish intent and concentration. And not on a computer! With a pen. Just like in the movies. But who’s in the picture? Appears to be white dude in his 50s with a dad bod and greying hair. He wears stylish glasses.

Why does this image come most naturally to me?

I can’t compare myself to this portrait. I’m all over the place. But I like to think my mind has more in common with that dude’s desk than him: it’s messy. But full of curiosities and stories that might be worth organizing and sharing someday.

Continue reading “Becoming a writer”