A king’s robe or an old blanket can keep you warm.
A gold throne or the bare ground can be your seat.
A grand palace or a mud hut can be your shelter.
A jewelled plate or a wooden pot can hold your food.
The external world does not destroy your inner peace,
But your attachment and aversion will.
Be honest with yourself – What is important to understand is that the view you have of yourself and the view you have of your environment are based on your own mind: they are a projection of your mind and that is why they are not reality.
We ordinary beings who haven’t realized emptiness don’t see things as similar to illusions. We don’t realize that things are merely labeled by mind and exist by mere name. Generally speaking, we don’t see the mere appearance of the I until we become enlightened because whenever our mind merely imputes something, the next second the negative imprint left on the mental continuum by previous ignorance projects true existence. In the first moment, the I is imputed; in the next, it appears back to us as real, as truly existent, as not merely labeled by mind. ~ Lama Zopa Rinpoche.
The doctrines of emptiness and selflessness do not imply the non-existence of things. Things do exist. When we say that all phenomena are void of self-existence, it does not mean that we are advocating non-existence, that we are repudiating that things exist. Then what is it we are negating? We are negating, or denying, that anything exists from its own side without depending on other things. Hence, it is because things depend for their existence upon other causes and conditions that they are said to lack independent self-existence ~ His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama, Answers: Discussions with Western Buddhists pages 31-32.
Simply watching also allows us to stop struggling: to stop trying so hard to accomplish, to prove ourselves, to measure up—to cover over whatever sense of lack we might have. It may be frightening when we first stop struggling; we’ve become accustomed to this way of being, and feel anxious about leaving the comfort of the familiar. But when we stop the struggle, we then have the space to be at home with ourselves. – Ezra Bayda, “Reflect, Without Thinking.”
English: Picture of Sharon Salzberg. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
No matter what comes up, we can learn new ways of being with it. We have a capacity to meet any thought or emotion with mindfulness and balance. Whatever disagreeable emotion is coursing through us, we can let it go. Rereading those words may keep you going when sitting down to practice is the last thing you want to do. ~ Sharon Salzberg, “Sticking with It”