Freedom in the Mind

“It is our mind, and that alone,
that chains us or sets us free.” —Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

That quote is one I have had tucked away in the unlikely event that I would end up in jail or in a hospital, or sheltering in place during a world pandemic. Hmmm. Well, here we are. I think quotes like this can be used inappropriately, to make people feel like they’re not working hard enough at the inner life if they’re feeling caught and trapped. On the other hand, I am finding it profoundly liberating to keep reminding myself that the claustrophobia and sense of entrapment in this experience is partly self-imposed, that I can be free, even in confined conditions. And to be honest, I am hardly confined, here on the farm. But that shows me even more deeply how the sense of being chained or free in a situation like this has more to do with my inner work than with my outer situation.


I’ve been posting twice on these April days of Poetry. Once in the morning for musings and quotes and gratitudes, and a second time in the afternoon, when I have written my poem for the day.


Gratitude List:
1. Though I miss Room 206, my current office/classroom is a pleasant, well-lit place.
2. My coworkers and students (present and virtual) are lovely people.
3. Such hope-filled Zooming with beloveds yesterday.
4. I’m wearing my bracelets today. I don’t usually wear them around the house, but I have missed having the clink and the flash of color.
5. In the midst of this terrible uncertainty, there is much to be certain of: love, spring, birdsong, laughter. When I sit on the recliner, I know that within ten minutes there will be a cat on my lap–that is a comforting certainty.

May we walk in Beauty! Take care of each other.


“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give the appearance of solidity to pure wind.” —George Orwell


“We must live from the center.” —Bahauddin, father of Rumi


“Some days I am more wolf than woman and I am still learning how to stop apologising for my wild.” —Nikita Gill


“Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.” —Albert Einstein


“Writer’s block results from
too much head. Cut off your head.
Pegasus, poetry, was born of Medusa
when her head was cut off.
You have to be reckless when writing.
Be as crazy as your conscience allows.”
—Joseph Campbell


“Ask yourself: Have you been kind today? Make kindness your daily modus operandi and change your world.” —Annie Lennox

2 thoughts on “Freedom in the Mind

  1. I find the differences in human beings a fascinating thing. Solitude is so freeing for me! I have never found comfort in being part of a group. Just the opposite. I am most uncomfortable when asked to be part of a group. This does not mean that I do not see the value in working together to achieve a common goal. I do, and I do participate. But it is not a natural thing for me. I agree with Khyentse Rinpoche that it is my mind, my over thinking about my uncomfortableness, that forms my chains. So I wear them. I know they are there and I know that I forged them. I try not to let them stop me. I think that helping other beings, in ALL their forms, is the most important thing we, as human beings, can do. And we do this best when we work together. – Still, solitude is my friend and I will always prefer a quiet walk with her to joining in with the group.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So beautifully said! I find myself going back and forth between the intrverted part of me that wanted desperately to be right here in this quiet space right now, and the extraverted part that needs to look people in the eye. It’s making the ambi piece of the ambivert more tense.

      Liked by 1 person

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