Quote from Shih-t’ou:
The substance of your mind is apart from annihilation and apart from eternity; its essence is neither polluted nor pure. Calm and complete… All realms of experience and all states of being are only manifestations of your own mind — does the moon reflected in water or the images in a mirror have origination or extinction?
A good practice when reading anything labeled “zen” is to strip away all of the hippie-sounding “spiritual” shit and attempt to take it as a simple lesson that requires application. Ask yourself, “what is the fucking point here?” and “How do I put this into practice right now?”
One possible lesson you could take away from the quote above is that your perceptions of the world are like an image in a mirror, they are not the thing itself. That goes double for your emotional reactions to situations. A reaction TO something is not that something — each situation could produce a variety of reactions within you.
Strive for a calmness and a completeness in your mind — that is, do not be a slave to situation — do not let a moment dictate to you what your reactions to that moment will be.
You cannot control the world around you, but you can control your reactions to it.
Now go lift something heavy,
ps. Translated by Thomas Cleary