1. Truth: “Fear is the cage, and love is the key.” I can’t find the origin of this quote to be able to credit it to anyone, but maybe that’s appropriate–it’s so universally true that every wise and kind being (i.e. all of us, eventually), every being that’s ever lived long enough to know pain and loss, to be confused and generate our own suffering has known this to be true. Fear is like metal bars, chains, a dark room with thick walls and a locked door, the razor teeth of a crazed wild animal, something sharp and strong that traps you in its grip, no matter how hard you struggle against it. And love? Love is the softening, unlocking, relaxing, gentle release, tender wash of gratitude and ease, letting go–freedom.
2. Truth: Suffering turns me to practice, to the dharma (i.e. truth). If my life were easy, no problem, infinite, there would be no reason to practice. If I had everything I wanted, felt no pain, didn’t suffer or need anything, I would be content as is, there would be no motivation to deepen my spiritual life. Practice doesn’t make the bad stuff go away or stop it from coming, but it enables me to cope, to stay, to show up as I am and stick with reality as it is.
3. Truth: Hope and fear are equally problematic, both cause me to suffer in the way that they turn my mind from this moment. Confidence and courage, however, are about showing up, here and now, and sticking around, no matter what happens. Being who I am–shaky, raw, afraid, flawed, messy, and completely brilliant. Being where I am, with what is, not running away or rejecting or numbing out, staying with my experience in the present moment, standing where I am, standing in the truth, where life is.
One wish: That we wake up to our lives exactly as they are, see truth and reality as it is and stay with it, just as we are right now. That we have the confidence, the courage, and the compassion to continue showing up and sticking around, and that through our presence, we can be a comfort to others as they attempt the same.