Monday, December 26, 2011


I've just finished Sharon Salzberg's text Faith.  I don't know any more if this was recommended to me by a friend or if I simply picked it up.  It was on my shelf, and had been started at some point in the past year.  And I spent some time moving through it in the past week.

Some lines I have to share:

"One of the most subtle ways fear can bind us, so quietly that we hardly know to call it fear, is what is known in Buddhist teachings as 'fixated hope.' Fixated hope, like hope itself, resembles faith in that both sparkle with a sense of possibility.  But fixated hope is conditional, circumscribing happiness to getting what we want"  (p. 81).

I hope we all have a sense of the world around us 'sparkling with a sense of possibility,' but also with the acknowledgement that happiness lies in a space that doesn't depend on an outcome.  

"Is it necessary to go through despair on a spiritual path, to endure a proverbial dark night of the soul in order to deepen our faith?  I don't know the answer to that--but I do know that it is necessary to strip away the entangling, unhealthy ways of relating to ourselves with dislike and diminishment that we are accustomed to.  And I know that we need to let go of many things, undergo loss, and unhook from the world's insistence that we cover up our pain in order for us to see what is really important to our lives" (p. 121).

I thought this was particularly salient as we move into the new year.  An artificial marker, yes, but a time when we are all looking to return to what's really important to our lives.  I'm hoping that's what our resolutions lead us to.

"If there is nothing we can do right now but wait, then, as T.S. Eliot wrote, 'the faith is in the waiting.' If we can but wait, we may yet emerge from despair with the same understanding that Zen master Suzuki Roshi expressed:  'Sometimes just to be alive is enough"  (p. 123).

Sometimes just to be alive is enough.
I remind myself.

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