It is only through silent awareness that our physical and mental nature can change. This change is completely spontaneous. If we make an effort to change we do no more than shift our attention from one level, from one thing, to another. We remain in a vicious circle. This only transfers energy from one point to another. It still leaves us oscillating between suffering and pleasure, each leading inevitably back to the other. Only living stillness, stillness without someone trying to be still, is capable of undoing the conditioning our biologoical, emotional and psychological nature has undergone. There is no controller, no selector, no personality making choices. In choiceless living the situation is given the freedom to unfold. You do not grasp one aspect over another for there is nobody to grasp. When you understand something and live it without being stuck to the formulation, what you have understood dissolves in your openness. In this silence change takes place of its own accord, the problem is resolved and duality ends. You are left in your glory where no one has understood and nothing has been understood.
— Jean Klein – I Am
(image souce: o-meditation.com)
The world does not yield to changing. By its very nature it is painful and transient. See it as it is and divest yourself of all desire and fear. When the world does not hold and bind you, it becomes an abode of joy and beauty. You can be happy in the world only when you are free of it.
— Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj – I am That – p. 504
Outward beauty, loveliness of form, charm of personality, whether it is yours or possessed by another, is of no lasting worth. Be not allured by this false show. Be not deluded by these transitory qualities. Handsome or ugly, fair or dark, delicate or coarse, exquisite or plain in appearance, all the forms that you behold are born of dust. They are dolls of clay. They are fleeting forms that will soon vanish and be no more. They are exactly like garments that we have purchased at the vanity-fair of this world, but which have to be discarded before we depart. Your aim in life should be to transcend them.
— Baba Sawan Singh
Death wanders through our lives at will, sweet Death
Is busy with each intake of our breath.
Why do you fear her? Lo, her laughing face
All rosy with the light of jocund grace !
A kind and lovely maiden culling flowers
In a sweet garden fresh with vernal showers,
This is the thing you fear, young portress bright
Who opens to our souls the worlds of light.
Is it because the twisted stem must feel
Pain when the tenderest hands its glory steal?
Is it because the flowerless stalk droops dull
And ghastly now that was so beautiful ?
Or is it the opening portal’s horrid jar
That shakes you, feeble souls of courage bare?
Death is but changing of our robes to wait
In wedding garments at the Eternal’s gate.
— Sri Aurobindo – Collected Poems and Plays, vol 1 – p. 144
The most important lesson that man can learn from his life is not that there is pain in this world, but that it depends upon him to turn it into good account, that it is possible for him to transmute it into joy.
— Rabindranath Tagore – Sadhana – Chapter 3
Make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty.
— Jon Krakauer – Into the Wild
The Sufi Bayazid says this about himself:
I was a revolutionary when I
was young and all my prayer to God was
‘Lord give me the energy to change
As I approached middle age and realized
that half my life was gone without my
changing a single soul, I changed my
prayer to ‘Lord, give me the grace to
change all those who come in contact
with me. Just my family and friends,
and I shall be satisfied.’
Now that I am an old man and my days
are numbered, my only prayer
is, ‘Lord, give me the grace to change
myself.’ If I had prayed for this right
from the start I would not have wasted
— Bayazid Bistami