Life always gives us exactly the teacher we need at every moment. This includes every mosquito, every misfortune, every red light, every traffic jam, every obnoxious supervisor (or employee), every illness, every loss, every moment of joy or depression, every addiction, every piece of garbage, every breath. Every moment is the guru.

— Joko Beck

The most successful Joko Beck quotes to get the best of your day

Enlightenment is not something you achieve.

It is the absence of something. All your life you have been going forward after something, pursuing some goal. Enlightenment is dropping all that.


Meditation practice is simply moving from a life of hurting myself and others to a life of not hurting myself and others.


Awareness is our true self; it's what we are. So we don't have to try to develop awareness; we simply need to notice how we block awareness with our thoughts, our fantasies, our opinions, and our judgments. We're either in awareness, which is our natural state, or we're doing something else.


But opinions, judgments, memories, dreaming about the future—ninety percent of the thoughts spinning around in our heads have no essential reality.


If I were to tell you that your life is already perfect, whole, and complete just as it is, you would think I was crazy. Nobody believes his or her life is perfect. And yet there is something within each of us that basically knows we are boundless, limitless.


There is one thing in life that you can always rely on: life being as it is.


Underneath our nice, friendly facades there is great unease.

If I were to scratch below the surface of anyone I would find fear, pain, and anxiety running amok. We all have ways to cover them up. We overeat, over-drink, overwork; we watch too much television.


We learn in our guts, not just in our brain, that a life of joy is not in seeking happiness, but in experiencing and simply being the circumstances of our life as they are; not in fulfilling personal wants, but in fulfilling the needs of life.


None of us would choose to be Sisyphus; yet in a sense, we all are.


Trust in things being as they are is the secret of life.

But we don't want to hear that. I can absolutely trust that in the next year my life is going to be changed, different, yet always just the way it is.


In spiritual maturity, the opposite of injustice is not justice but compassion.


You cannot avoid paradise. You can only avoid seeking it.


About Joko Beck

Quotes 38 sayings
Profession Author
Birthday March 27, 1917

We are caught in the contradiction of finding life a rather perplexing puzzle which causes us a lot of misery, and at the same time being dimly aware of the boundless, limitless nature of life. So we begin looking for an answer to the puzzle.


We are always doing something to cover up our basic existential anxiety.

Some people live that way until the day they die.


We tend to run our whole life trying to avoid all that hurts or displeases us, noticing the objects, people, or situations that we think will give us pain or pleasure, avoiding one and pursuing the other.


We are just living this moment; we don't have to live 150,000 moments at once. We are only living one. That's why I say you might as well practice with each moment.


An old Zen rule of thumb is not to answer until one has been asked three times.


Caught in the self-centered dream, only suffering;

holding to self-centered thoughts, exactly the dream; each moment, life as it is, the only teacher; being just this moment, compassion's way.


All I can be is who I am right now; I can experience that and work with it. That's all I can do. The rest is the dream of the ego.


There are many people in the world who feel that if only they had a bigger car, a nicer house, better vacations, a more understanding boss, or a more interesting partner, then their life would work. We all go through that one. Slowly we wear out most of our 'if onlies.


Life is a second-by-second miracle.


Practice has to be a process of endless disappointment.

We have to see that everything we demand (and even get) eventually disappoints us. This discovery is our teacher.


With unfailing kindness, your life always presents what you need to learn.

Whether you stay home or work in an office or whatever, the next teacher is going to pop right up.


To some degree we all find life difficult, perplexing, and oppressive.

Even when it goes well, as it may for a time, we worry that it probably won't keep on that way.


Whenever we say a person's name, notice whether we have stated more than a fact.

For example, the judgment, 'She's thoughtless' goes beyond the facts 'She said she'd call me and she didn't.


Meditation is not about doing something


Joy is being willing for things to be as they are.


Body tension will always be present if our good feeing is just ordinary, self-centered happiness. Joy has no tension in it, because joy accepts whatever is as it is.


How do we know if our practice is a real practice? Only by one thing: more and more, we just see the wonder. What is the wonder? I don't know. We can't know such things through thinking. But we always know it when it's there.


What does open us is sharing our vulnerabilities.

Sometimes we see a couple who has done this difficult work over a lifetime. In the process, they have grown old together. We can sense the enormous comfort, the shared quality of ease between these people. It is beautiful, and very rare. Without this quality of openness and vulnerability, partners don't really know each other; they are one image living with another image.


There is a foundation for our lives, a place in which our life rests.

That place is nothing but the present moment, as we see, hear, experience what is. If we do not return to that place, we live our lives out of our heads. We blame others; we complain; we feel sorry for ourselves. All of these symptoms show that we're stuck in our thoughts. We're out of touch with the open space that is always right here.


We 'rid ourselves of conceptual thought' when, by persistent observation, we recognize the unreality of our self-centered thoughts. Then we can remain dispassionate and fundamentally unaffected by them. That does not mean to be a cold person. Rather, it means not to be caught and dragged around by circumstances.


To enjoy the world without judgment is what a realized life is like.


There is no end to the opening up that is possible for a human being.


We have to face the pain we have been running from.

In fact, we need to learn to rest in it and let its searing power transform us.


We're constantly waking up to what we're about, what we're really doing in our lives. And the fact is, that's painful. But there's no possibility of freedom without this pain.


It's of no use to look back and say, "I should have been different.

" At any given moment, we are the way we are, and we see what we're able to see. For that reason, guilt is always inappropriate.

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