Shodo Harada

‘Rarely do we reside in no place. We think about what day of the week this; upon hearing a bird sing, we think about its name; upon seeing a flower we think about how nice it looks. Instead of residing in no place, we reside in a small self. This is necessary for functioning in the workd, but it is not the actual truth. Only when abiding in no place can we experience the direct truth. When we hear the birds chirp from no place, our mind is freshly born in every moment. Because we seek comfort, we feel we have to reside somewhere. Because we are part of society, we feel we have to refer to others by judging them. But that’s not how our mind works when it is functioning at its clearest.’ (Not One Single Thing)

This is a deep and subtle point. We might think that our appreciation of a bird or a flower is exactly what mindfulness looks like, but, as I usually frame it, if we are just trying to put it in a box, whether that box is labeled ‘pleasant’ or ‘unpleasant’, we do not allow it, or ourselves, the freedom of full expression in the moment.

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