As far as the writing itself is concerned it takes next to no time at all. Much too much is written every day of our lives. We are overwhelmed by it. But when at times we see through the welter of evasive or interested patter, when by chance we penetrate to some moving detail of a life, there is always time to bang out a few pages. The thing isn’t to find the time for it — we waste hours every day doing absolutely nothing at all — the difficulty is to catch the evasive life of the thing, to phrase the words in such a way that stereotype will yield a moment of insight. This is where the difficulty lies. We are lucky when that underground current can be tapped and the secret spring of all our lives will send up its pure water. It seldom happens. A thousand trivialities push themselves to the front, our lying habits of everyday speech and thought are foremost, telling us that that is what “they” want to hear. Tell them something else.
The man with the clear head is the man who . . . looks life in the face, realizes that everything in it is problematic, and feels himself lost. And this is the simple truth: that to live is to feel oneself lost. He who accepts it has already begun to find himself, to be on firm ground.
My own education operated by a succession of eye-openers each involving the repudiation of some previously held belief.
I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strange, I am ungrateful to these teachers.
If you stop to be kind you must swerve often from your path.
I am convinced that we are here for each other.
What is laid down, ordered, factual is never enough to embrace the whole truth: life always spills over the rim of every cup.
I am reminded of the story about “Bird’s Nest Roshi.” He was a teacher who lived in the T’ang period and did zazen (meditation) in a tree. The governor of his province, Po Chu-i, heard about Bird’s Nest Roshi and went to see him. This Po Chu-i was no ordinary politician. He was one of China’s greatest poets, well-known for his expression of Zen Buddhism.
Po Chu-i found Bird’s Nest Roshi sitting in his trees, doing zazen. He called to him, saying, “Oh, Bird’s Nest, you look very insecure up there. Tell me, what is it that all the buddhas taught?” Bird’s Nest Roshi replied by quoting from the Dhammapada:
Always do good;
Never do evil;
Keep your mind pure —
Thus all the buddhas taught.
So Po Chu-i said, “Always do good; never do evil; keep your mind pure — I knew that when I was three years old.”
“Yes,” said Bird’s Nest Roshi, “a three-year-old child may know it, but even an eighty-year-old man cannot put it into practice.”
I am not a complete vegetarian. I eat only animals that have died in their sleep.
Basically, I am self-confident. I don’t like it if I’m not creatively free-flowing — it worries me and I wonder, is this the end? Is the well empty now? I worry about the lack of self-confidence of someone who, at times, has to get himself up or hype himself. I wonder why I think I have to do it. Sometimes I’m not able to take in the positive communication that’s directed at me because I’m not sure I deserve it. The difference now is, I let all these symptoms of lack of self-confidence just be. I don’t let them define me. In other words, I’m more comfortable with my lack of self-confidence, so in a way, it’s more self-confidence.
I certainly wasn’t happy. Happiness has to do with reason, and only reason earns it. What I was given was the thing you can’t earn, and can’t keep, and often don’t even recognize at the time; I mean joy.
Charity. To love human beings in so far as they are nothing. That is, to love them as God does.
Love until it hurts.