The hour I spent writing when I arose early this morning was time I needed to release steam from a sealed container.  Had I let the words that gathered there metastasize into sharp sentences and fierce paragraphs, the container could have exploded. The words I wrote remain in my head, but they are invisible now; sealed off from places where eyes might see them. But they remain in me, aching to be released. That constant battle continues.


This morning, I found my book, The Essence of Zen. The timing was perfect; I needed it.

Solitude is freedom.
It’s an anchor, an anchor in the void.
You’re anchored to nothing,
and that’s my definition of freedom.

~ John Lilly ~

And another…

The One and the All.
Mingle and move without discriminating.
Live in this awareness and you’ll stop worrying
about not being perfect.

~ Seng Tsan ~

Drinking tea can, it is said, help sooth one’s mind. I am not sure whether it works with me; I should try it again. Very soon. I am not sure whether espresso has that effect; I’ve had two shots of espresso this morning. Even with The Essence of Zen open to words of wisdom, I am not certain about the soothing impact of espresso.

Another quotation that speaks to me:

He who knows
he has enough
is rich.

~ Lao Tzu ~

Hmm. I think I have had enough…more than enough. I still need something to remind me of the way to become settled.

Within yourself
is a stillness and a sanctuary
to which you can retreat at any time
and be yourself.

~ Herman Hesse ~

That’s it. That is the one I need. A sanctuary to which I can retreat, free of the chatter and grating noise of certainty and discord. It is the one I need, but is it attainable? It is. Simply withdraw for a time. Ignore the flood of selfishness that seeks to overcome altruism. Breathe pure air, unsullied by the smoke from arsonists’ fires.  Pet the cat. Listen to her contented purr. Imagine being hidden in a delightfully comfortable cocoon. Engage with the world around you as if asleep.  Ignore the fray for as long as it takes for steam to become ice.


About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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