It is time for Zorba to start meditating, and it is time for the people who are meditators not to allow themselves to escape from the world... Only in completion is there bliss. Only in completion have you come home.
The medicine for my suffering I had within me from the very beginning, But I did not take it. My ailment came from within myself, But I did not observe it. Until this moment. Now I see that I will never find the light Unless, like the candle, I am my own fuel.
Few of us are truly free. Money, fame, power, sexuality, admiration, youth; whatever we are attached to will enslave us, and often we serve these masters unaware. Many of the things that enslave us will limit our ability to live fully and deeply. They will cause us to suffer needlessly. The promised land may be many things to many people. For some it is perfect health and for others freedom from hunger or fear, or discrimination, or injustice. But perhaps on the deepest level the promised land is the same for us all, the capacity to know and live by the innate goodness in us, to serve and belong to one another and to life.
It is not that you must be free from fear. The moment you try to free yourself from fear, you create a resistance against fear. Resistance, in any form, does not end fear. What is needed, rather than running away or controlling or suppressing or any other resistance, is understanding fear; that means, watch it, learn about it, come directly into contact with it. We are to learn about fear, not how to escape from it, not how to resist it through courage and so on.
And we: spectators, always, everywhere, looking at everything, and never from! . . . Who's turned us around like this, so that whatever we do, we always have the look of someone going away? Just as a person on the last hill showing him or her the whole valley one last time, turns, and stops, and lingers -- so we live, and are forever leaving.
Most people who come to the Zen Center don't think a Cadillac will do it, but they think that enlightenment will. Now they've got a new cookie, a new "if only." "If only I could understand what realization is all about, I would be happy." "If only I could have at least a little enlightenment experience, I would be happy." Coming into a practice like Zen, we bring our usual notions that we are going to get somewhere--become enlightened--and get all the cookies that have eluded us in the past.
Our whole life consists of this little subject looking outside itself for an object. But if you take something that is limited, like body and mind, and look for something outside it, that something becomes an object and must be limited too. So you have something limited looking for something limited and you just end up with more of the same folly that has made you miserable.
No person is free until he or she is free at the center. When we let go there, we are free indeed. When the self is renounced, then one stands utterly disillusioned, apart, asking for nothing. If anything comes to us, it is all sheer gain. Then life becomes one constant surprise.