...from Stillness

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  1. The mountain that you gaze up at now is right beneath your feet.


  1. The empty sky that you gaze into is the very sky that’s deep within.


  1. It’s not about becoming still. It’s about letting the stillness of the world become you.


  1. Happy Independence Day! Of course I’m disregarding for the moment that anyone or anything is truly independent.


  1. Temperature is just an average of more and less energetic molecules. Why curse the heat when there is coolness in your midst?


  1. A butterfly, pushed by rushing mountain winds across barren, rocky slopes, waits patiently for a calm eddy in which to fall.


  1. Today on my 100+ degree run a grandmother and grandson pulled alongside to offer me a bottle of water. Compassion! Gratitude!


  1. I wonder what irrational ideas I’ll let go of today…


  1. Solo climbers enjoy hanging from sheer rock walls hundreds of feet in the air without ropes or nets. Ah, to live each moment so!


  1. Without a plan, the heart beats. Without reflection, the lungs breathe. Set aside scheming and obsessing and really live!


  1. Yearning for what could be -> frustration. Yearning for what can no longer be -> fear. Yearn for what is and yearn no more!


  1. So much conflict… all the time conflict… conflict conflict conflict. Note to self: try shutting up for a change!


  1. Why tend another’s orchard and have to beg for fruit from him when you can tend your own and have bounty enough to give away?


  1. The flower does not so much bloom as does the world unfold around it.


  1. “Aha!” I said, realizing that I was a just a story that I’d told myself. But then I realized that that was just another story!


  1. Your vine keeps climbing, reaching, twining. Is it the fencepost that you desire, or is it the sun?


  1. I bought a pair of sun glasses – one half full, the other half empty. I drank them both so as to see life as it is.


  1. Everything that has ever happened is still happening. Everything that will ever happen is happening now.


  1. Don’t think you know something no matter how familiar it might seem. Familiarity is the most impenetrable obscuration of all!


  1. The desert does not wait for it to rain, but when the rains do arrive it explodes with every morsel of life that it contains.


  1. Damson plum trees, laden with fruit & children. Sticky tree sap, squishy sweetness… those trees bear fruit forever in my mind.


  1. Your consciousness is like a bloom on a billion year-old rosebush. Are you allowing it to unfold as completely as it might?


  1.  I remember you… hiding in that safest of places…, peering out…, so much in need of gentleness. Don’t ever forget that.


  1. I filled the birdbath and found my own thirst satisfied.


  1. Crumbling walls, broken windows, leaking roof… I suppose it’s time to move. Oh well. I am a wind gust, after all.


  1. That authenticity becomes you. It brings out the color of your wisdom eye.


  1. I’m entering the monastery. You can join me. Just leave your pretenses beside this open gate.


  1. Evolutionary factoid: the larger our brains get the more perception depends on our worldview and the less it depends on reality.


  1. We moon people speak of the full earth representing enlightened mind. Imagine the wisdom to be enjoyed up there!


  1. Approach life with the energy of a puppy and the calm mind of an old dog lying on a farmhouse porch, watching as the cars go by.


  1. Neither longing for cloudship nor yearning for streamship, rain falls – performing immeasurable dharma work for the sake of all.


  1. An old mug full of ink pens, a stack of salvaged notebook paper, a faithful wooden desk – the universe writes its own story!


  1. Do you really believe, or are you really just hoping to one day relive what it’s like to really believe?


  1. The bird flew higher, higher…, neither heading north nor heading south – just higher. What fruit grows higher than the clouds?


  1. Silly existentialists, fretting over the meaning of their lives… Don’t they know that life IS meaning?


  1. Even the healthiest of trees has a dead branch or two in need of pruning.


  1. This must be what a pot-bound plant feels like upon finding its roots in rich, deep soil.


  1. A tree-shaped cloud of cicadas interpenetrated a me-shaped cloud of thoughts – thereby silencing them both.


  1. As the evening mist settles into the valley, so stillness will settle within if you become its vessel.


  1. Oh, so you want your practice to be comfortable! Kind of like shuffling toward enlightenment in your flip-flops, eh?


  1. Neither mistake your teacher for a jailer, nor your jailer for a teacher.


  1. A songbird welcomes you to meditation. Now show your gratitude by completely forgetting its name.


  1. Your sweeping searchlight illuminates your quarry only fleetingly. Try being still, such that all things enlighten you.


  1. Build your house on shifting sands with the flimsiest of materials, and when it falls think twice before building another.


  1. With sadness I bury the remains of the tiny rabbit left on my front doorstep. With joy I greet the cat that did the deed.


  1. So, these questions are the chattering of my ego, eh? Perhaps your lack of enquiry is the silent working of your own!


  1. All summer long I’ve been searching for the perfect peach, but every time I find one it dissappears!


  1. Acceptance leads to peace… Indeed! I accept that I must speak the truth of injustice in order that there be peace.


  1. Why live a life of paint-by-number prettiness when you can live a boldly brush-stroked masterpiece instead?


  1. Don’t mistake even the most perfected performance of ritual with the attainment of anything whatsoever.


  1. How quickly we enslave ourselves to petty tyrants in those fleeting moments when they just so happen to agree with us!


  1. Now that you’ve made a battlefield of the entire world to no good end, why not try surrender?


  1. Sit quietly in a posture that fosters alertness. Seek nothing. Push nothing away.


  1. How will you ever understand “beyond words and letters” without getting out of your head and feeling it?


  1. I just LOVE your new “emptiness” tattoo! It is SO you!


  1. He who searches long and hard before calling anyone teacher is wise. He who calls everyone teacher is wiser.


  1. We don’t really ‘enter into’ meditation, do we? We merely sit still and allow the world to enfold us.


  1. The moon rises as the sun sets. Try receiving the light without casting any shadow.


  1. What is true above all else? Some questions are truer than their answers.


  1. That which you think is true above all else is merely more true than anything else.


  1. That which you “know” to be true above all else is the least important truth of all.


  1. Sweep up the crumbs of what you thought was oneness. Truth is never served at tea for two.


  1. I’m not saying that you’re wrong. It’s just that I think you’re seeing the world through YOU-colored glasses.


  1. He said he loved her but she doubted. She said she loved him but he doubted. Tragic lovers! Separated by comfy pillows of doubt!


  1. So your counting of the days magically makes the moon turn blue. What did you do to make the sun orange?


  1. Pigeons feed in the shadow of their beloved plastic owl – resting assured that he will keep the snakes away.


  1. You’d think the weed would curse the rain for allowing it to be so easily plucked from the soil.


  1. That which I refrain from calling ‘God’ in any given moment just might be the object of your praise each Sunday morn.


  1. If a million dollars goes to the one who savors best the sunset, how will you go about winning it?


  1. The bazaar of independent artists has disbanded. Now it’s back to the bizarre – the cooperatively created canvas of Human Life!


  1. If wisdom is a matter of knowing what to forget, what’s at the top of your list?


  1. Embrace what comes your way as a cat avails itself of a warm basket of socks right out of the dryer.


  1. Do you really think the fragile bloom of truth could possibly survive in that tangled weed-patch of views?


  1. What a dump! What a decaying, putrid, loathsome and forsaken place! I’m long overdue for a change of mind…


  1. Smiling cherub, emotionless stoic, crazy-wisdom fox, wizened sage, tireless crusader – which enlightenment mask do you prefer?


  1. Somebody once told me that I was perfect just the way I was. But I’ll be darned if I didn’t go ahead and change anyway!


  1. Show me a man who knows exactly what he wants and I’ll show you a man who has fooled even himself.


  1. As a long walk through misty air eventually soaks you through and through, so your steady practice will in time become you.


  1. A master chef has no need for recipes. So the holiest amongst us need neither precept nor commandment.


  1. Thank you, but the sky is too vast and the circles you would have me fly in too small.


  1. I’ve looked everywhere for it, but it’s gone, gone, gone! Now what? I guess I’ll have to find something else to throw away…


  1. What remains to be thrown away? Perhaps we should begin with the notion that anything needs throwing away.


  1. Sleepwalk through the day, dream away the night, wake up to hear death’s footsteps in your hallway. And so your life begins.


  1. In stillness there is no gain or loss, nor any desire for gain or loss. Gain & loss are ideas. There are no ideas in stillness.


  1. In stillness there is no sickness and health. Sickness and health are relative terms. Stillness is ever in the present.


  1. For a fleeting instant stillness came and went, like the true love you barely noticed when first you met.


  1. A clap of thunder sent the pigeons circling only to return, but you remained precisely where you were.


  1. Last night young Sigmund dreamt he was a butterfly. Perhaps a butterfly now dreams that he is Sigmund? Analyze that, Mr. Freud!


  1. I gaze through the reflection of your shadow on the window, past trees & cars to where my image in the store window stares back.


  1. No one tells the tree which way to hold its branches or push its roots. Beware of “holy ones” who tell you how to live.


  1. I awaken to hear an owl hooting his question in the tree outside my window. “Why, why, why?” is my response.


  1. I sit before the window as one by one the cars whoosh past, racing toward the day when they will race no more.


  1. If you think you’ve got nothing to say, you’re right. Now go out and proclaim it as only you can do!


  1. Does life require belief in air & water & bread? Does joy require belief in love? Does humanity require belief at all?


  1. A chilly autumn drizzle mats the fallen leaves to the earth. What must it feel like to be that close?


  1. If you’re going to buy water by the river, at least make sure it’s pure!


  1. Why yearn for food when it is your hunger that is most nourishing?


  1. I had to lie still for a moment this morning before figuring out which side of the bed to get out of.


  1. I’d forgotten you until I saw your golden ginkgo eye peering from lush green grassy lashes. You’ve a lover once again!


  1. Does anybody really have as their ultimate goal to make the world a less beautiful place? And yet…


  1. Enjoy them one last time before they fall – ideas from which life has withdrawn. Their very demise becomes their beauty.


  1. Continents shift and collide, mountains crumble into sand, civilizations rise and fall, and, lo and behold, minds change.


  1. I awaken to the sound of bulldozers rattling and churning. I wonder if anyone else can hear this sound that’s deep within?


  1. Can you imagine the sun expecting something in return for its radiance?


  1. Painters love it, meditators too – bright sunlight on a blank white wall. Is yours within you or without?


  1. If you trip, you catch yourself. If he trips, catch yourself.


  1.  So, you think there must be more than this, but have you really seen all there is to see right here and now?


  1. We scratch & claw & tear at the veil between us and reality, failing to see that our idea of a veil is, in fact, the veil.


  1. The first step to ending this addiction is to admit that you are powerless over words.


  1.  Nestle amongst the grape vines, their fleshy leaves dripping with rain. Let the calm settle into you. Watch.


  1. Conditions are ripe for the mutation of consciousness. Prepare now for a possible pandemic of awakening.


  1. The time we cling most tightly to our outmoded ideas is just before they fail us altogether.


  1. In turning our compost we do what all living beings have done since time began – we make dirt.


  1. When the marked trail ends & the game trail begins, you're close. When the game trail ends, you're almost there.


  1. Live like a rose, blooming as the hard frost falls, longing not for warm days of bees and butterflies.


  1. Are you still living, or are you an exhibit in a living museum of the life that you once lived?


  1. You wear your tightly woven ideas like an armor of chainmail, and yet you long to swim in an ocean of truth!


  1. It’s okay, really. Just keep doing what you’re doing. Earth will always be here. Ah, but you and your kind will not.


  1. The tragedy of evolution is the human brain at once both knowing and forgetting from whence it came.


  1. Make-believe truths, pretend realities, created history... this stuff will make some GREAT compost!


  1. Drunk with ideas, you lurch toward me, sputtering words of belief into my face while sneering at my glass of wine.


  1. Find that place of vast humility deep within – that which is always open, never grasping.


  1. I’ve fallen yet again on my long journey to the sea, & you have risen to the clouds. Meet me, Love, in springtime in another life.


  1. Oh, where is timelessness amidst all this artificiality!? Ah…, yes..., breathe…, breathe…


  1. Don’t bother asking what it’s like to never venture forth of one who’s never ventured forth.


  1. More and more I find that motivational speakers only speak to my ego. But, then again, maybe it’s just me!


  1. Saying you know how to think because you do it all the time is like hammering on everything & calling yourself a carpenter.


  1. Ah, the recklessness of choosing thinking over non-thinking every time without ever having glimpsed the latter!


  1. Shakers…, movers…, trapped in your macabre dance of doing…, dancing into death without ever being.


  1. I’ll take a bruising, bone-jarring bronco ride that’s true over a paint-by-number vision of a peaceful cattle drive.


  1. Deeper than any ideas regarding giving and receiving is the experience of gratitude – in abundance and in scarcity.


  1. So you’re telling me that if I forget the words in my head and remember the words in yours, then I’ll be free, right?


  1. I think, therefore I am – 1637. I have style, therefore I matter – 1925. I invented “the look,” therefore I will lead you – 2010.


  1. Freedom lies in the rejection of all authority. Here, let me show you how. No, no, no…, not like that!


  1.  Just as you breathe and settle more deeply into each asana, settle more deeply into the stillness of this moment.


  1. Goodbye cruel world! I’m leaving behind my negative preconceived notions and assumptions about you…


  1. In delusion we seek & in delusion we find – until such time as seeking & finding are themselves seen to be delusion.


  1. Is it ever appropriate for a Zen Buddhist to say that "it's the principle of the thing"?


  1. Do you ask another to scratch your itch? Why expect another to resolve your existential query?


  1. No, no, no…, don’t SEIZE the day. Unfold with it like a gorgeous blossom, opening…, opening…, opening.


  1. Happy New Year! Happy Old Year! Did the universe bathe & don new clothes, or have we simply changed our minds?


  1. Look fear in the eye and see at last that fear doesn’t really have any eyes, and yours do not belong to you.


  1. Happiness at times aches more than sadness, for the realization that this too shall pass is ever-present.


  1. What do you know? No, no, no, don’t tell me what you’ve heard or read or believe! Tell me what you KNOW!


  1. Wisdom differs from intelligence in that intelligence leads to counter-intelligence and wisdom leads to peace.


  1. Being a cog in a machine is noble. But if the machine is broken it is noble to either fix it or become a cog in another.


  1. People decry the absence of God in our human institutions. But where is God in the worshipping of weaponry?


  1. All too often we neither hear nor feel heard until voices are raised and ears are ringing.


  1. Wavy lines are so much easier to paint on wavy surfaces than are straight ones, and since life is pretty wavy...


  1. On your deathbed, will you lament not knowing your own mind just as deeply as if you’d never known your lover?



Copyright 2012-2013 by Mark Frank


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