Beyond Bitterness

“There is a bitter aftertaste when one swallows the truth, sometimes. It may be years before it becomes apparent, so long that you’ve forgotten that first taste, but it does come. It comes when, having thought you swallowed truth whole, what you got was only a morsel. Further, the spreading bitterness derives from understanding that what you thought was true was, actually, true, but not in the way you thought or wanted it to be.” — Terrance Keenan (via Whiskey River)

“Sour, sweet, bitter, pungent, all must be tasted.”
– Chinese Proverb

I Am Becoming

by Jayne Relaford Brown

the woman I’ve wanted,
grey at the temples,
soft body, delighted,
cracked up by life
with a laugh that’s
known bitter
but, past it, got better,
knows she’s a survivor­
that whatever comes,
she can outlast it.
I am becoming a deep
weathered basket.

I am becoming the woman
I’ve longed for,
the motherly lover
with arms strong and tender,
the growing up daughter
who blushes surprises.
I am becoming full moons
and sunrises.
I find her becoming,
this woman I’ve wanted,
who knows she’ll encompass,
who knows she’s sufficient,
knows where she’s going
and travels with passion.
Who remembers she’s precious,
but knows she’s not scarce­
who knows she is plenty,
plenty to share.

When sorrow comes, its bitterness soaks everything. The sages say that life is illusion, but does that change its poignancy? Let us be sad; it is feeling that makes us human. If we gain enlightenment, understanding all life to be a dream, sadness and happiness will fall away soon enough. — Deng Ming-Dao, 365 Tao

You and I assumed forever
When we became companions.
But now, unhappy, you are leaving.
The sky turns to bitter candescence
Unslaked by resignation.
— Deng Ming-Dao, 365 Tao

After a bitter quarrel, some resentment must remain.
What can one do about it?
Therefore the sage keeps his half of the bargain but does not exact his due.
A man of Virtue performs his part;
But a man without Virtue requires others to fulfil their obligations.
The Tao of heaven is impartial.
It stays with good men all the time.

Tao Te Ching, 79

Do not let yourselves be discouraged or embittered by the smallness of the success you are likely to achieve in trying to make life better. You certainly would not be able, in a single generation, to create an earthly paradise. Who could expect that? But, if you make life ever so little better, you will have done splendidly, and your lives will have been worthwhile.” — Arnold Toynbee

Don’t exclude the quiet people from your life who seem so invisible. They will be your confidant, the one who keeps your secrets and doesn’t gossip about you, the one who is there in your most desperate hour when there is no one else you can share your secrets with. They will be the one who loves you and tells you there is hope for a different life than the one that makes you feel so bitter and angry and cynical. They will be the one who loans you money when you need it most, the one who helps you move when no one else is around, the one who indulges you when you most need it. They will be the one who is there for you when you feel there is no chance someone will find you attractive and desirable again.

Never cease loving a person, and never give up hope for him, for even the prodigal son who had fallen most low, could still be saved; the bitterest enemy and also he who was your friend could again be your friend.” — Soren Kierkegaard

The essence of the fourth noble truth is the eightfold path. Everything we do — our discipline, effort, meditation, livelihood, and every single thing that we do from the moment we’re born until the moment we die — we can use to help us to realize our unity and our completeness with all things. We can use our lives, in other words, to wake up to the fact that we’re not separate: the energy that causes us to live and be whole and awake and alive is just the energy that creates everything, and we’re part of that. We can use our lives to connect with that, or we can use them to become resentful, alienated, resistant, angry, bitter. As always, it’s up to us.– Awakening Loving-Kindness Pema Chodron

Every person has the power to make others happy.
Some do it simply by entering a room –
others by leaving the room.
Some individuals leave trails of gloom;
others, trails of joy.
Some leave trails of hate and bitterness;
others, trails of love and harmony.
Some leave trails of cynicism and pessimism;
others trails of faith and optimism.
Some leave trails of criticism and resignation;
others trails of gratitude and hope.

What kind of trails do you leave?”

— William Arthur Ward