You can almost hear our little grasping magpie brains being addressed in chapter 12. It isn’t my intention to fully quote Stephen Mitchell’s words (rather to encourage you to buy the book and read along), but this chapter is so elegant in its concise entirety I would do it a disservice by cutting out only a piece for you:
Colors blind the eye.
Sounds deafen the ear.
Flavors numb the taste.
Thoughts weaken the mind.
Desires wither the heart.
The master observes the world
but trusts his inner vision.
He allows things to come and go.
His heart is open as the sky.
Squaaa! Shiny! It’s so distracting, all the shiny in the world: the colours, the tastes, all our clever clever thoughts. But the really clever magpie enjoys the shiny when it comes along, but also enjoys the stillness, and the sky, and the odd roadkill gopher… um, my metaphor may have gotten away on me there a bit.
Point being, we are material beings (as per chapter 11) but we need to try and keep centered, remember what’s really important, and not get tossed about chasing this or that. I think the best metaphor I’ve come across (’cause that roadkill one got a little squidgy) was the idea of viewing life as a rope slowly sliding through your gentle grasp, letting every part of it pass through in its own time; hold too tight and you get caught up and dragged along.
So, enjoy the shiny as it comes along, then let it go, so you can be fully with whatever comes next, your heart open as the sky.