“If you’re stuck, if you’re really desperate—dialogue: ‘Hello.’ ‘Oh hello.’ ‘How are you?’ ‘Not too bad, thanks. How are you?’ ‘Not too bad.’ Half a page already.” –Philip Pullman
If we have ambitions—even if our aim is enlightenment— then there is no meditation, because we are thinking about it, craving it, fantasizing, imagining things. That is not meditation. This is why an important characteristic of shamatha meditation is to let go of any goal and simply sit for the sake of sitting. We breathe in and out, and we just watch that. Nothing else. It doesn’t matter if we get enlightenment or not. It doesn’t matter if our friends get enlightened faster. Who cares? We are just breathing. We just sit straight and watch the breath in and out. Nothing else. We let go of our ambitions. This includes trying to do a perfect shamatha meditation. We should get rid of even that. Just sit.
—Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche
“I don’t think the political arena is where social change occurs. It follows. It always comes later. They’re just reactive—they’ve got pollsters in the White House. I mean, there’s the sole man in the Oval Office reading his polls to decide how to think. Which is great from our point of view. We do have an actor–we have just what we wanted. All we have to do is accept responsibility for the programming.” –Ram Dass
( from a 1980s debate between RD and Timothy Leary:
“There’s a lovely Hasidic story of a rabbi who always told his people that if they studied the Torah, it would put Scripture on their hearts. One of them asked, “Why on our hearts, and not in them?” The rabbi answered, “Only God can put Scripture inside. But reading sacred text can put it on your heart, and then when your hearts break, the holy words will fall inside.” –Anne Lamott (from her book Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith)