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The Deepest Peace: Contemplations from a Season of Stillness

Zenju Earthlyn Manuel

Top 10 Best Quotes

“Being undone, we discover we’ve been fooled by wishing wells and have mistaken the fire of desire for radiance.”

“Not am I worthy enough, but am I free enough to awaken and disrupt everything old and unnecessary in my life?”

“Spontaneous meditation occurs in pouring and drinking tea. No need to go after meditation, like hunting down some stranger. We run here and there, looking for comfort, softness, and healing. Right on the cushion with the tea master, there’s peace. If we don’t question what’s being offered, there’s peace.”

“Sitting with silence, listening, is my way, my life. It has nothing to do with Zen, nothing to do with Buddhism. It has nothing to do with pleasure or joy. It has everything to do with being awake to this life and how I come awake. Being in the great awareness of the earth brings peace.”

“Rage won’t leave from where it lives, which is in the back of my mind, a place that holds great details. I don’t quiet the rage for peace. Peace is not superior. Peace is persistent. Rage is persistent as well. I meditate while trembling with rage. It’s difficult, but possible. I breathe for a long time in the midst of city sirens and those thoughts of pain and the violence I experienced firsthand. My head is tight. I haven’t asked any questions, but from my own silence there’s a message. It says: rage is here because love is needed. Peace washes over me in the moment. Rage is asking me to consider love? Yes, perhaps begging me to do this. And then it will leave out the back door, which is the back of my mind.”

“I don’t want to wipe out rage and make space for a kind of vanilla love, infused with artificial sweetener. But I can consider love grown and harvested from rage. Rage repeats itself like a heartbeat marking suffering accumulated over a lifetime. Is love present and knocking in a rageful way?”

“Hermithood, as a state of mind, happens when a deep yearning for nature turns out to be a yearning for the self we left behind while earning a living, raising a family, or keeping pace. The disconnect becomes so severe that we are desperate to engage the source of life, to live close to the earth, to see it constantly, to smell and hear it. To taste a pine nut is to taste the pine tree. To listen to a leaf fall is an uninterrupted conversation with the earth. To dedicate twenty-four hours a day to listening is not a sacrifice for the hermit. Listening is the lifeline to the deepest peace possible. There’s never any time lost in a day spent listening. The perpetual and eternal sounds of nature—including the utterances of human beings—are the feast of life.”

“Experiencing peace need not be an arduous journey of endless work but rather a moment-by-moment effort of resting in order to engage in loving intimacy with others. In this way, a deeply nourished life can take the direction of liberation by which production (labor) is not the measure of our worth. A vow to rest is a vow for peace.”

“The struggle of the world melts into the beauty of itself when the words come from an experience of peace. Writing becomes meditation when it’s steeped in the essential.”

“After suffering and resistance, the only thing left is contemplation of life and after contemplation, stillness, and after stillness, peace. Peace is a presence that is difficult to define. Perhaps for this reason, I feel poetry has been a path through which peace has made itself known to me.”

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Book Keywords:

peace, transformation, freedom, awakening, enlightenment, desire, insight, zen, repentance, self-worth, zen-buddhism, newness, wisdom, buddhism

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