One does not sit in order to become enlightened. One sits because, as the Buddha exclaimed at the moment of his awakening, one is enlightened as one is. The practice is simply a means of realizing this fact, which the ordinary, dualistic mind obscures.
When my brother was twelve, I found six mice nailed to the wall of the abandoned tree house in the woods near our apartment. He spent a lot of time there. It seemed to me the little mouse faces were frozen in agony. As though they’d been alive when he’d hammered the nails through them.
The rural people of Calabria, in southern Italy, live an unusually long time. The average global lifespan is about seventy-two years, but the residents of this sunny, mountainous peninsula often live into their nineties and beyond — and they suffer less from ailments like dementia and heart disease that typically affect the elderly.