Here are original sayings that sum up Verlin's perspective:
1) Yield gracefully to what is.
2) When you're not in the moment, you meet your mind instead of the world.
3) Find a way to cooperate with how things need to be.
4) All craving is a devaluation of the present moment.
5) We're prepared by the journey to meet the challenges that await us at the destination.
6) Mindfulness isn't about inventing what you want to be mindful to. It's about being with whatever’s there.
7) If you attach moral value to your preferences, your suffering increases.
8) Life asks us to learn how to thrive while in free-fall.
9) We're all in this together.
10) You can count on impermanence.
11) It doesn't tend to work out if you try to dance a waltz with a badger.
12) Everything's impersonal.
13) The universe is self-regulating.
14) Our default setting is kindness.
15) The universe will meet you halfway if you do your work.
16) The way to find out everything's that knowable is by simply paying attention.
17) Comfort and discomfort are really lousy criteria for making choices.
18) Don't be conned by the illusion of control.
19) Most problems are a side effect of not having a straightforward relationship to reality.
20) Every life path is unique, so all comparisons are invalid — between apples and oranges.
21) Time is an illusion, solid matter is an illusion, separateness is an illusion, and so is pretty much everything else you can think of. What's "real" is beyond thought.
22) Life is not a serious business.
23) Literally, the root energy of the world is love.
24) The opposite of compassion is not hate. It's ignorance.
25) There are no thought police.
26) Beauty, truth, and love are all aspects of the same phenomenon — that which underlies our world.
27) Don't make things happen; let things happen. You can't arm-wrestle life into submission.
28) Death is profoundly mundane.
29) Everything is perfect exactly the way it is, and there's tremendous room for improvement.
30) At any given point in our psycho-spiritual evolution, some of us need glue and some of us need solvent.
31) Truth embodies (apparent) paradox.
32) We are like complex, completed origami. Our task is to unfold ourselves and return to the simple, blank sheets of paper that we once were before we were us.
33) Being in a body is like wearing an outlandish disguise.
34) Give yourself permission to be where you're at.
35) Our thoughts are science fiction stories written by drunk monkeys.
36) Internal attitude affects external events.
37) Awareness is a benign Pandora’s box.
38) When you open your heart to the pain in the world, everything shifts.
39) The "meaning of life" is loving connectedness (except that the word "meaning" is a human construct that has no meaning).
40) Healing is omnidirectional.
41) It’s all Love. Literally.
Here's a commentary on Saying #1. When I get my blog up and running, I hope to create similar essays on each of the sayings.
Yield gracefully to what is.
Beyond our self-interest and all our stories about what’s going on around us, there’s a way that things are at any given moment – a “what is.” This reality exists in stand-alone fashion, independent of whether we understand it, wish it were different, or experience strong feelings about it. Like the weather on a given day, we’re along for the ride. We can yield gracefully to whatever elements of life we can’t control or we can fight them. An adversarial relationship with the world around us creates stress and dissatisfaction. Picture a man standing in the rain shaking his fist at the weather god because he’d planned to play tennis. How does this help him have a good day?
A lot of life is more like the weather than we’d care to admit. Especially other people.
Our attempts to control or change others are usually doomed. We fend off the truth of this to maintain the illusion that we can get our needs met in just the way we want. Instead of accepting and working with the way things are, we try to transform other people in unrealistic ways. And until all hope is dashed, we keep trying, since the notion is such an attractive Plan A. Our futile attempts generate a steady life curriculum of frustration, conflict, and unhappiness – all the stuff we were trying to avoid in the first place. As is so often the case, the solution becomes the problem.
Yielding gracefully speaks to the only real choice we have when situations are beyond our ability to control outcome. We can be dragged kicking and screaming into what needs to happen or we can accept reality and go with the flow. The resistant, involuntary version layers extra suffering onto the mandatory suffering that is inherent in the circumstance itself. So we make things harder on us as it all turns out exactly the same as if we cooperated.
Of course, we may need to become more skilled at determining what the serenity prayer asks us to do – identify that which is within our domain and that to which we need to surrender. Our culture fosters various myths concerning our empowerment in the world and these play on our psychological need for stability and security. If we accept the notion that that we can control our fate by working hard, for example, life becomes less scary. But what happens as actual events disconfirm this premise? Then we feel the stress of never-actualized responsibility and the sting of “failure” as events unfold based on the entire constellation of variables inherent in any particular life equation. Are we really failing if we can’t walk through a wall or perform some other impossible action?
For that matter, as I’m choosing which personal goals to pursue — realistic or not—, do I know for sure how anything needs to turn out — what will work out for the best for all concerned in the long run? No. How could I? I know what suits me, what helps me avoid unpleasant feelings, what might lead me to becoming richer or more comfortable, and what the limited vantage point of my conditioned mind can conjure. Most of what I would dearly love to avoid – the personal “catastrophes” that loom in my future – are nothing more than inconveniences. And supposed achievements or goals may prove to be wholly unsatisfying or perhaps they might a initiate a sequence of events that bring me to dark places. While my mind is busy with all this, I am even less able to sort out what’s real, let alone what represents a benign or a problematic future scenario.
In graceful acceptance, we’re not passive, nor are we letting anyone off the hook or saying that everything that happens is okay with us. First, we need to tune into the “what is”. We can’t be clear about that if we’re playing games in our mind – conning ourselves about the way things are. Then from a standing on a platform of the Real, we can ascertain what would be an effective response. Perhaps it’s launching into an extended battle for social justice – changing the aspects of the world that we can, even as we accept it for what it is now. Perhaps not. There is no general policy to plug in, despite the guidance of our value systems. Paying attention to each individual moment and all that we can become aware of in that moment is my recommendation for sorting through life.