I think I’ve already used these quotes. No matter, they are worth including a second time and serve as launch pad for something new.
“The way of ‘self-expression’, individual acknowledgements, results in egotists, sure of the right to their private interpretations of God and the universe.”—Paramhansa Yogananda, Autobiography Of A Yogi
“Truth humbly retires, no doubt, before such arrogant originality.”—Paramhansa Yogananda
“Man makes many tools and uses them effectively in various fields of his activity, but he is always exposing himself to the tyranny of the tools he has made. The result is that he is no more master of himself, but an abject slave to his surroundings, and the worst thing is that he is not conscious of this fact.”— D.T. Suzuki, Living By Zen
“Words are only shells. Win conviction of God’s presence through your own joyous contact in meditation.”—Paramhansa Yogananda
… “Your own joyous contact in meditation,” that one’s worth repeating. But what’s more, making every act an act of meditation. Cleaning the house, strolling through a park hand in hand, ‘earning a living,’… being nowhere else than where you are at that particular place in space and time. No thoughts marring the purity of NOW. Unalloyed, undistracted participation in the moment at hand.
Easier said than done, particularly today, in spite of all the resources available—the books, videos, ashrams, retreats and studios—all that white collar soul-amelioration stuff. Pay your money and attain enlightenment, success and love.
Reminds me of a church I attended years ago down in Los Angeles. Lead pastor was on his way to becoming something of a star, as that sort of thing goes. The place had a tonight show atmosphere about it as befits LA, with the congregation WOO-HOOING! the band after every rousing number. Beautiful people beautifully dressed. Sermon tailored as impeccably as the attire caressing well-toned trimness.
‘A community of sorts,’ I thought, a chromed up subset of a greater whole with accommodatingly benevolent sub-deity.
We have that wondrously ambiguous faculty, to fashion our Ultimate Mystery in a chicken-and-egg like dance with destiny and time and all those grand inscrutables we resort to when pressed for a Word.
Be that as it may, Life flows on and on. One thing about closing in on the half century mark age-wise is that you gain a certain vantage point on Life as we humans experience it.
Recently I attended the wedding of a friend’s daughter. Now I’ve known this fella for close on the half century too, that is, from toddling children to middle aged men. I’ve also had the privilege of watching his daughter blossom from toddler to the full bloom of young womanhood, and that as a relatively mature adult myself! Alongside these flowerings, adults I knew as a youngster have grown old and some have passed on, my father included.
It is Life, that’s all.
At the wedding I had occasion to chat with an old friend entering into his middle years as well. Having been on something of a quest himself these last few years he humbly shared with me all he had come to realize.
“You’re going to be underwhelmed,” he prefaced.
“The purpose of Life… it’s meaning, the reason we are here,” he continued, almost apologetically, ” …is to be good. No more and no less.”
I like that. What more is there?
To be good.
To BE good.