Sunday, December 15, 2013

Quote Showcase #1 [Article]

A quote should be a pithy saying which expresses a lot of truth and wisdom. A quote, after you read it, should make you want to share it with everyone you know. It should stick with you and become a mantra that you say in your head, it should become something that, after you read it, makes you stop and think for a long time. I think that any quotable person is worthy of a tremendous deal of respect.

No wonder I have become a collector and lover of quotes in my life! I have a quote and a saying for just about every situation, and there are more than a few quotes that have become like mantras and prayers that I say to myself during certain times where I need some wisdom to guide me. Every time I repeat them they dig deeper and deeper into my subconscious and the words make an increasingly ever lasting psychic impression.

Quotes have saved me from many a dark day and given me power during times of weakness. To express my gratitude for the quotes in the world, I'm starting a new monthly showcase on my blog that is all about quotes (in no particular order or theme).

Remember when reading a quote to reflect on it so it can sink in fully. Repeat it, say it to yourself a few different ways, think about each word, hold it in your mind, analyze it, feel it. A quote is not worth reading if you don't fully digest it. Otherwise it doesn't become a part of your being.

 Let's see what is lined up for our first installment!

"This moment is always the occasion" - Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

I first came across this quote during my stay at Gampo Abbey. I think it perfectly sums up the entire philosophy of mindfulness!

Everyone is always looking for an "occasion" - either remembering a previous one or imagining/wishing for a future one. Sometimes when we are bored we create "occasions" in our mind, imagined conversations, imaginary situations. The unmindful mind, our little private cinema, creates a thousand and one occasions on a daily basis.

Yes, the mind is always wandering without beginning or end. Why? The mindful mind knows that the present moment is what the unmindful mind is looking for. The busy mind actually wants stillness.

Since I first read this quote it is like a mantra that I say to myself when I am out on walks or out in my daily life. I cannot tell you how many times I have been astonished by how much raw perception and how much beauty is present in literally every single individual moment, and how much more internal happiness we have when our consciousness is more grounded in the impressions of the exterior world instead of always neurotically following whatever erroneous thought is entering our mind.

I remember walking home from school and seeing a tree during the fall, just a simple little tree, and staring at it for a good ten minutes because the sight of it, from  the way the sun was slightly behind the clouds in that moment, the way the tree was positioned in my sight, etc - was so gorgeous. I remember thinking "Wow!" when I saw the wind blowing leaves across the street when I once was walking my dog. It was as if the leaves were engaged in an elegant little dance that no one had noticed but me. I remember finding the tune of the wind hitting the leaves in the trees to be so melodious. I remember the way that the clouds sometimes move along the sky becoming one of my all-time favorite visual perceptions because it so zen.
Never fed, ever satisfied. Ever fed, never satisfied - Paramahansa Yogananda 

Paramahansa Yogananda's deceptively simple quote perfectly sums up the delusive nature of desire. Desire is like an itch: You think that by scratching it the itch goes away, but really, scratching it just makes it itch more and more and more and more. It is true of food, it is true of money, it is true of sex, it is true of drugs, etc.

Think of all the millionaires in the world who can instantly get any possession or food that they want. What do they want? Even more food, money, sex, etc. It never ends!

Think, too, of a person who was perfectly fine a minute ago but is currently a raging volcano of desire because he saw an Ad on TV or his friend talking about something. Just like that. Like a leaf being tossed around in the wind, he is being dragged by external impressions without any thought of his own. Who knows what paths those external impressions might take him?

But a person who abstains, a person who is self-controlled,  does not have that problem. He is perfectly content in the current moment. He walks into a store filled with things he doesn't need, and doesn't buy anything. Someone mentions ice-cream after he just had supper and instead of going after the ice cream he says he is full. The self-controlled man knows the peace and contentment of the present moment and doesn't want it disturbed by whatever random desires come popping in!

What a radical quote to think of in our 21st century consumerist society!
"If you love life, don't waste time, because time is what life is made of" - Bruce Lee

Wow. Whenever I read this quote, the tiger within me gets awoken a little. It makes me want to do the things I love and pursue my dreams. This is a quote that gets me off the couch and gets me doing something. 

This is such a rich quote that it is worth interpreting piece by piece: "If you love life...". Everyone should love life. Life is so precious. Think back to a time when you smiled or when you were really happy. There are so many countless causes and conditions that were required for that one thing to happen. It is such an incredible opportunity that you could ever feel that great at all.

"don't waste time...." Heck, just today I have spent almost all of it zoning out and lazing around. But then I started working on this, and my happiness levels boosted because I am exerting myself and doing something that I really love (writing). Happiness isn't having nothing to do and obeying every command that the Id sends at you, happiness is having a goal and completing that goal, and the best kind of happiness is exceeding your expectations. This isn't something that just happens, it is something that we have to consciously do. If it were any other way it wouldn't be worth it. Life is so much better when we have the energy of awakenment flowing through us.

"Because time is what life is made of". We delude ourselves into thinking that things are the same from moment to moment. Really, they aren't: Every micro-second of existence is brand new. This is true at the microscopic levels of the Atom and the Molecule where things are always changing and moving but also true from the perspective of what our own eyes can see: Everything is always running out, there is always something different about this moment versus every moment that came before or after.

That is Time. Everything around you - people, objects, situations - is running on the sand of a mercilessly finite hourglass. Time is impersonal: It doesn't care if you wanted to repeat this or that experience, or for that person to be that away again, or for this object not to break. Now lets apply this to you. Think back to how short of a time it was to get to the age of 15 to the age you are now. Blink of an eye, isn't it?

If you don't consciously take the bull by the horns, god knows where you could end up, and then the rare and precious life that you had was thrown away. The image of being given a rare diamond and then throwing it away into the garbage is what comes to mind. Better fulfill your dreams while you still have a will that is strong, a body that is healthy and a mind that is sane. Better love the people around you while they have those things going for them too.

I think that's a nice note to end on! I hope that these quotes leave a lasting impression, as any good quote should! Remember to follow the instructions I said at the beginning so you can really digest the words of wisdom that have been offered to you today.