Even though I am Christian, I have always enjoyed studying other religions. I find myself particularly drawn to Zen Buddhism. I found "Taking Our Places: The Buddhist Path to Truly Growing Up" a very thought provoking and timely book for me. The author discusses what it means to truly grow-up, pointing out that just because one gets old doesn't mean they've gained spiritual maturity. I've considered this subject quite a bit since becoming a mother. Here are a few thoughts that I enjoyed from Fischer's book:
"Maybe true maturity is finding a way of keeping questions alive throughout our lifetime. For when there are no more questions, we stop maturing and begin merely to age."
"Each of us has a place in this world. Taking that place, I have come to feel, is our real job as human beings. We are not generic people, we are individuals, and when we appreciate that fact completely and allow ourselves to embrace it and grow into it fully, we see that taking our unique place in this world is the only thing that gives us a sense of ultimate fulfillment."
"Consciously or uncounsciously, every moment you are choosing your life, and that choice is always decisive, never trivial. Your choices always have important consequences for the future, whether you can see them immediately or not."
"Forgiving our parents is an important step in the direction of maturity. It is astonishing how many people fail to take this step, choosing to remain, in effect adolescents throughout their lives. . . Peacemaking never depends on the other person. Peace is made in our own hearts and nowhere else. . . If we are fortunate enough to have our parents' cooperation in the peacmaking effort, so much the better. Bit if not, the work goes on anyway."
"To really love someone is to recognize that they are not us, and that they have needs, aspirations, and lives that do not belong to us and that we cannot control. Can we appreciate and give ourselves to them without fixating on what they will give us in return? Can we allow them their freedom and autonomy? Love like this may be the highest form of the practice of nonposessiveness."
"Anger is in the end a marker of our weakness, not of our strength, and this is why it is so useful. . . Anger always flares up precisely in the places where we are most vulnerable. . . Using our anger well, we can pinpoint our weak points, our personal narrowness."