“If a man crosses a river and an empty boat collides with his own skiff, Even though he be bad tempered man He will not become very angry. But if he sees a man in the boat, He will shout at him to steer clear. If the shout is not heard, he will shout again, and yet again, and begin cursing. And all because someone is in the boat. Yet if the boat were empty, He would not be shouting, and not angry. If you can empty your own boat Crossing the river of the world, No one will oppose you, No one will seek to harm you” ― Zhuangzi
I do not mean that we ought voluntarily to put ourselves in the way of dissipating influences; God forbid! That would be tempting God and seeking danger. But such distractions as come in any way providentially, if met with due precaution and carefully guarded hours of prayer and reading, will turn to good. Often those things which make you sigh for solitude are more profitable to your humiliation and self-denial than the most utter solitude itself would be. … Sometimes a stimulating book of devotion, a fervent meditation, a striking conversation, may flatter your tastes and make you feel self-satisfied and complacent, imagining yourself far advanced towards perfection; and by filling you with unreal notions, be all the time swelling your pride and making you come from your religious exercises less tolerant of whatever crosses your will. I would have you hold fast to this simple rule : seek nothing dissipating, but bear quietly with whatever God sends without your seeking it, whether of dissipation or interruption. It is a great delusion to seek God afar off in matters perhaps quite unattainable, ignoring that He is beside us in our daily annoyances, so long as we bear humbly and bravely all those which arise from the manifold imperfections of our neighbors and ourselves.
Ask not to be forgiven, for this has already been accomplished. Ask, rather, to learn how to forgive and restore what always was to your unforgiving mind. Atonement becomes real and visible to them that use it. On earth this is your only function, and you must learn that it is all you want to learn.
Perception is the medium by which ignorance is brought to knowledge. Yet the perception must be without deceit, for otherwise it becomes the messenger of ignorance rather than a helper in the search for truth.