Ours is a Journey into Nearness

by Ben Carter

We often cast our spiritual quest—our grappling with fundamental human issues—as a journey. But the kind of journey we'll embark upon is not a journey in the usual sense of the word. 

Generally we think of a journey involving movement and direction, either going out somewhere into the world or else leading inward, into the self. But in Buddhism our journey must go nowhere—neither in nor out. Rather, ours is a journey into nearness, into immediacy. Our journey must be to awaken here an now, to awaken to here and now. To be fully alive, we must be fully present.

—from Buddhism Plain and Simple by Steve Hagen, p. 19 (Broadway Books, 1997)

Let it Flow Back and Forth

by Ben Carter

You can't straighten up during writing and then hunch back down when you let go of the pen. Writing can teach us the dignity of speaking the truth, and it spreads out from the page into all of our life, and it should. Otherwise, there is too much of a schism between who we are as writers and how we live our daily lives. That is the challenge: to let writing teach us about life and life about writing. Let it flow back and forth. 

—p. 143 of Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg (Shambhala 2005). 

Let the Whole Thing Flower

by Ben Carter

I'm reading Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. All of it is great, but this...this is breathtaking:

The deepest secret in our heart of hearts is that we are writing because we love the world, and why not carry that secret out with our bodies into the living rooms and porches, backyards and grocery stores? Let the whole thing flower: the poem and the person writing the poem. And let us always be kind in this world.

"You have to be as light as you can be"

by Ben Carter

Bill Murray:

There’s got to be a lightness in your way. There has to be a lightness; you have to be as light as you can be and not get weighed down and stuck in your emotion, stuck in your body, stuck in your head. You just want to always be trying to elevate somehow.