Entertainments, in whatever form one cares to take them, are necessary and indeed vital to happiness in the ordinary sense of the word. Both the body and the mind need rest and the batteries have to be recharged in some way. but the conventional methods for reviving ourselves in the midst of life's conflicts only partially do the job. They fall short of showing us the true nature of reality. [...]
Where, then, do we go from here? For me the answer to that question lies in my knowledge gained from the rich experience of knowing a quiet mind. I have been helped in the attainment of this knowledge by listening to and understanding the many wise men I have been lucky enough to meet, and by watching them and learning from their example.
I know now that it is not necessary to travel the world in search of a leader or a system, for the answers are all within us. In fact such a search is in itself a distraction and only serves to delay the moment of vision. It was only when my search ended that peace followed.
The key is in suffering and conflict; it is necessary to regard the suffering of others with compassion and our own with tolerance and equanimity. We must be aware of it, but silently, without trying to invite this silence by conscious effort. And this silent awareness must be allowed to come about in its own time, anything we do to hasten it merely adds further conflict.
One must be aware of the moment without any attempt to change it; it will change itself. One must be attentive to an extreme degree, as often as possible. Even to be attentive that one is not attentive is a form of attentiveness. To know reality one cannot stand outside of it and intellectualize about it, one must enter into it, become it and experience it. Then the mind becomes quiet, at peace with itself.
The beauty of living and the beauty of the earth unfolds and one's actions are no longer self-centered and destructive. Every action becomes creative. The fire of discontent changes from a destructive force consuming our lives into a bright luminous light that fills our lives with peace and joy.
-- John Coleman, in "The Quiet Mind"
SEED QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What practice serves you well in developing attentiveness? What does entering reality mean to you? Can you share a personal experience that illustrates entering, becoming and experiencing reality?