Thich Nhat Hanh
Let us be at peace with our bodies and our minds.
Let us return to ourselves and become wholly ourselves.
Let us be aware of the source of being,
common to us all and to all living things.
Evoking the presence of the Great Compassion,
let us fill our hearts with our own compassion—
towards ourselves and towards all living beings.
Let us pray that we ourselves cease to be
the cause of suffering to each other.
With humility, with awareness of the existence of life,
and of the suffering that are going on around us,
let us practice the establishment of peace in our hearts and on earth.
— Thich Nhat Hanh – in Singing The Living Tradition – #505
(image source: viewonbuddhism.org)
They call Him Emptiness who is the Truth of truths,
in Whom all truths are stored!
There within Him creation goes forward,
which is beyond all philosophy;
for philosophy cannot attain to Him:
There is an endless world,
O my Brother! and there is the Nameless Being,
of whom naught can be said.
Only he knows it who has reached that region:
it is other than all that is heard and said.
No form, no body, no length, no breadth is seen there:
how can I tell you that which it is?
— Kabir – Songs of Kabir – LXXVI (transl. Rabindranath Tagore)
(image source: poemhunter.com)
The practice is to turn inward towards the source, the looker, and look for it.
Ultimately you will understand (see, experience, apprehend, discover, know) that there is no looking inside or outside. There is just one consciousness. The intentional effort of looking within was to counterbalance a lifelong habit of looking outwards and to develop introspective discrimination to eliminate internal and external objects and phenomena as the true you.
I want to emphasize that the phrase “look inward” is a lie. There is no inward or outward. This distinction only lasts while you think you are a body. The phrase “look inward” almost sounds like a command to look into the inner emptiness of imagination, as inside the body. It is a bad instruction. It reinforces the idea of the reality of inner and outer, inside the skin and outside.
The world, your inner state, your searching, your imagination about what self-realization is like, will all disappear and you will understand that everything you have experienced until that moment is imagination. You will be free of all concept and imagination. In this you must abide for a long while, but self-abidance itself does not become continuous for a long time. It is a matter of persistence alone, and that only arises after a sustaining passion for truth becomes the most important issue to you.
Then, at some point, “everything” will disappear as unreal and you will be left in silent mind existence.
— Ed Muzika – Autobiography of a Jnani (p.161-162)
As soon as one ceases to imagine that one is an individual person, inhabiting a particular body, the whole superstructure of wrong ideas collapses and is replaced by a conscious and permanent awareness of the real Self. […]
All that is required is an understanding that the Self is not a goal to be attained, it is merely the awareness that prevails when all the limiting ideas about the not-Self have been discarded.
— David Godman– Be As You Are – The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi
We live in a society whose whole policy is to excite every nerve in the human body and keep it at the highest pitch of artificial tension, to strain every human desire to the limit and to create as many new desires and synthetic passions as possible, in order to cater to them with the products of our factories and printing presses and movie studios and all the rest.
And yet it is still just as naïve to suppose that members of the same human species, without having changed anything but their minds, should suddenly turn around and produce a perfect society, when they have never been able, in the past, to produce anything but imperfection and, at best, the barest shadow of justice.
I had at last become a true child of the modern world, completely tangled up in petty and useless concerns with myself, and almost incapable of even considering or understand anything that was really important to my own true interests.
What a strange thing! In filling myself, I had emptied myself. In grasping things, I had lost everything. In devouring pleasures and joys, I had found distress and anguish and fear.
— Thomas Merton – Several Quotes from “The Seven Storey Mountain
Is this the end of all that we have been,
And all we did or dreamed, –
A name unremembered and a form undone, –
Is this the end?
A body rotting under a slab of stone
Or turned to ash in fire,
A mind dissolved, lost its forgotten thoughts, –
Is this the end?
Our little hours that were and are no more,
Our passions once so high
Being mocked by the still earth and calm sunshine, –
Is this the end?
Our yearnings for the human Godward climb
Passing to other hearts
Deceived, while smiles towards death and hell the world, –
Is this the end?
Fallen is the harp; shattered it lies and mute;
Is the unseen player dead?
Because the tree is felled where the bird sang,
Must the song too hush?
One in the mind who planned and willed and thought,
Worked to reshape earth’s fate,
One in the heart who loved and yearned and hoped,
Does he too end?
The Immortal in the mortal is his Name;
An artist Godhead here
Ever remoulds himself in diviner shapes,
Unwilling to cease
Till all is done for which the stars were made,
Till the heart discovers God
And the soul knows itself. And even then
There is no end.
— Sri Aurobindo – Is This the End?
What is the path of inquiry for understanding the nature of the mind?
That which rises as ‘I’ in this body is the mind. If one inquires as to where in the body the thought “I” rises first, one would discover that it rises in the heart. That is the place of the mind’s origin. Even if one thinks constantly “I” one will be led to that place. Of all the thoughts that arise in the mind, the “I” thought is the first. It is only after the rise of this that the other thoughts arise. It is after the appearance of the first personal pronoun that the second and third personal pronouns appear; without the first personal pronoun there will not be the second and third.
— Ramana Maharshi – The Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi