All Things Must Pass*


(c) The Daily Zen / Ed C Lunnon 2016

Ill 10 years 1 month |Physical: Adv CBD / Mental: Adv Cbd

mustpass

“No matter how bad a state of mind you may get into, if you keep strong and hold out, eventually the floating clouds must vanish and the withering wind must cease.”
Dōgen

Feeling good about your life? It will pass. Feeling miserable? That will pass too. Meditation teaches us not to cling to good thoughts or bad, but instead to be undiscriminating and let all thoughts go by. This teaches us the power and inevitability of transience. Everything is in a perpetual state of coming and going. The more you resist this, the more it hurts.

When we are in a good place, we cling to feeling good. We set expectations higher and higher until nothing can match them, thus forcing us into a not-so-good place. When we are in a bad place, we fantasize so much about the good that we neglect devoting adequate energy to the moment, the very energy required to lift ourselves out of the funk.

The masters believed enlightenment to come suddenly out of nowhere, like a lightning strike. It hits for a bit and then also passes. When we sit and meditate, sometimes we cling to various thoughts or expectations. This is still egotistical thinking and won’t help us in our practice. But when we truly sit and focus only on the breath, letting everything pass by, moments of terrific lucidity occur. They only come about when we aren’t searching for them.

Thoreau said, “Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you; but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.” This passage has stuck with me since I read it years ago. We find contentment when we are too immersed in diligent living to waste time searching around for it. Life is the wellspring for contentment, not the other way around. You must build a life of mindful virtue if you want to truly feel peace.

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