Many things that are simple are not necessarily easy. Chess. The pieces move in simple and straightforward ways, and the goal is relatively simple. But chess takes a lifetime to master, if you ever do master it. Baseball. The rules are very simple, the goal easy to understand. But as with chess, you can play 162 games and still not hit a home run, or score enough to beat the other team. Let’s say that those games are difficult because we have an opponent with our same goal, OK.
How about cycling, or running? Those are solitary, very simple and still can take loads of effort to do well, and it’s not always physical effort that’s the problem.
My point is that things don’t have to be complicated in order to be difficult. Sometimes the simplest things are indeed the hardest. How about these - love yourself. Comfort your child. Be kind.
There’s a Chinese proverb that says: Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are. Take a moment, and think about the last time you were well and truly relaxed. What were you doing? Were you with anyone? What were you thinking about? I’ll lay down real money that you weren’t thinking of anything but what you were doing and where you were in that moment.
I’m friends with quite a few artists and one of the most influential and important things that artists do is they challenge us to be real with ourselves. Some art is ugly, but sometimes are emotions are ugly. Sometimes we act in ugly ways and we should feel the impact of that. We might see a piece of art that reminds us of heartbreaking beauty, or a period of crushing sadness we experienced, or reminds us that we’re not alone in our stirrings for revolution. To put it simply, artists and art can sometimes force us to face ourselves in the mirror of their creation and SEE where we weren’t able to see before - inside ourselves. Right here, right now.
My childhood “happy place” is lying over a stream on a fallen birch tree under the sun-dappled leaves. At this point and time, it’s waking in the arms of my lover or sitting in my house that is now all my own, seeing all the work I did to get it that way and feeling proud of myself. I could easily screw that up by thinking of all the work I have to do to get it exactly how I want it. Or money issues. Or my sister. Or how badly I may have screwed up at work. Or how when teaching a class at a church last week I lost my composure and cried.
We are SO good at screwing up being content. It’s almost like we don’t think we’re worthy of contentment, of joy. Or we think joy can’t be as simple as having tea with friends and laughing at how the pancakes look like kermit the frog. But it can. And we are.
The next time you’re on the cushion and you think “I wonder if I’m doing any of this right?” Follow that up with - Yes, I am. Because the simple fact that you asked that question means that you are.
"Forget about enlightenment. Sit down wherever you are and listen to the wind that is singing in your veins. Sit down wherever you are and listen to the wind that is singing in your veins. Feel the love, the longing and in your bones. Feel the love, the longing and in your bones. Open your heart to who you are, right now, not who you would like to be. Not the St. you're striving to become. But the being right here before you you, inside you, around you. Not the St. you're striving to become. But the being right here before you you, inside you, around you. All of you is holy. You're already more and less than whatever you can know. You're already more and less than whatever you can know. Breathe out, look in, let go." – John Welwood