James Siena, Outswam Nitrosamine, 2020
The mind and heart react according to their well-worn habits. Whatever habit of mind you have now comes from your actions and thoughts of the past (however unexamined or unintentional they may have been). Whatever habits of mind you will have in the future depend on what you do or don’t do from now on. The way you spontaneously react in times of trouble is not fixed. Your mind, your heart, can be trained. Once you have a single experience of reacting differently, you will be encouraged. Next time it is more likely that you will take yourself in hand. Each time becomes easier than the last. And little by little you establish a new habit. When something difficult happens, you will train yourself to stop saying, “Damn! Why did this have to happen!” and begin saying, “Yes, of course, this is how it is, let me turn toward it, let me practice with it, let me go beyond entanglement to gratitude.” Because you will have realized that because you are alive and not dead, because you have a human body, and not some other kind of a body, because the world is a physical world and not an ethereal world, and because all of us together as people are the way we are, bad things are going to happen. It’s the most normal, most inevitable thing in the world. It’s not a mistake, and it isn’t anyone’s fault. And we can make use of it to drive our gratitude and compassion deeper.
Norman Fischer, Training in Compassion, pp 49-50