Who do we think we are? Erik Erikson, the gentle sage of childhood development, was one of my most beloved teachers. He said, “The sense of ‘I’ is one of the most obvious facts of existence—indeed, perhaps the most obvious—and it is, at the same time, one of the most elusive.” What we call our “self” is elastic; it shifts and moves. The “who” that we are depends upon the way we see. If we believe we are a thief, we will act like a criminal. If we think we are fragile and broken, we will live a fragile, broken life. If we believe we are strong and wise, we will live with enthusiasm and courage. The way we name ourselves colors the way we live. Continue reading
Our most fruitful practice is the one that most gently leads us into ourselves just as we are, into the innate perfection of our true nature.
~Wayne Muller, How Then, Shall We Live?
Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.
It’s not impermanence, per se, or even knowing we’re going to die, that is the cause of our suffering, the Buddha taught. Rather, it’s our resistance to the fundamental uncertainty of our situation. Our discomfort arises from all of our efforts to put ground under our feet, to realize our dream of constant okayness. When we resist change, it’s called suffering. But when we can completely let go and not struggle against it, when we can embrace the groundlessness of our situation and relax into its dynamic quality, that’s called enlightenment, or awakening to our true nature, to our fundamental goodness. Another word for that is freedom—freedom from struggling against the fundamental ambiguity of being human.
~Pema Chodron, Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change
The snow goose need not bathe to make itself white. Neither need you do anything but be yourself.
We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.
Never let the odds keep you from doing what you know in your heart you were meant to do.
~H. Jackson Brown, Jr., American author