Now it was time to follow the old Zen lesson and let go with both hands.  Life is suffering, and the cause of suffering is desire, so the Buddhists say.  You can’t stop the desires, memories, the thoughts and the feelings, the teaching went, but you didn’t have to grasp them and hang onto them to torture yourself; you could simply let them go, let them float away like balloons or bubbles.” 

The truly marvelous thing about reading is the way inspiration and insight pops up in the oddest places.  I was clicking along in my reading of Friend of the Devil, Peter Robinson’s latest Inspector Banks mystery, when this passage literally jumped off the page and bonked me on my (still stuffy) head.  “Let go with both hands,” DI Annie Cabot reminds herself, and send those persistent nagging thoughts and desires into the ether.

It occurred to me that my mind is just as congested as my respiratory system, clogged with the detritus of unfullilled ambitions, fears about the future, and indecision about which way to turn.  If it were only possible to clear my thoughts of these toxic feelings, to release them from my psyche and send them floating away into the sky, then surely my breath would flow easily and freely and there would be a corner of my heart for peaceful, positive thoughts to settle in and grow.

Inspiration – to fill with breath. It can come from anywhere, but for me, it often comes from a book.

Now tell me, have you ever been surprised by inspiration from a book?


6 thoughts on “Inspiration

  1. Funny you should mention it. Yesterday, in a very ordinary crime novel, I read this: ‘You have not to count up what you can do, or how much good it will accomplish. That is not your business. You have only to do what you can, one day at a time, without regretting yesterday or being afraid of tomorrow.’ I marked that, I loved it so much. Your quotation is lovely, too, and very wise. But if we let go of everything,there is a chance of being free, but also of being empty, and of not belonging to our past. So as ever, it’s the impossible juggling act again!

  2. I have a dear friend who starts every day with: Today and everyday I choose Happiness; Joy is my natural state!

    I firmly believe you can convince yourself of anything, if you tell yourself often enough. Kind of like trying a little bite of bleu cheese 20 times, and the 21st time you find you like the taste – voila!

    One author that stands out in the last year as being a great inspiration is Anne Lammot. Plus, she made me laugh!

    I hope you are able to send the toxic feelings into the universe, to float away from you.

  3. I am headed right now to the couch with a book, yes, looking for inspiration.

    It’s January and I cannot think of a book that has inspired me which sounds completely pathetic because there have been dozens, I know. More later…

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