I love the way Amma Syncletica, a fourth century woman of wisdom, talked about the spiritual path. I offer her guidance to reflect the Buddhist perspective: “It is a struggle and great toil at first for those who practice the Dharma, but then it is unspeakable joy. Just as they who want to start a fire are engulfed in smoke and reduced to tears at first, and in this way attain the desired warmth, so too we must start the divine fire within ourselves with tears and toil.” Basically, don’t expect your eyes not to burn when you start a fire.
May we witness the outer fires and smoke as a call to kindle the inner fire for the benefit of all beings. Much gratitude to our wonderful sangha for tending the fire of wisdom and compassion.