According to Buddhist tradition, life is suffering. And while taking a glass half empty (or bone dry) approach to life doesn’t do much to lift your spirits and keep you flying high, taking a realistic approach to life’s ups and downs can be a huge stress saver overall. Why, you wonder? Because bad things do happen – to even the best-intentioned people. Yet at the end of the day, when we learn to accept them as part of existence and move on in the knowledge that this too shall pass, we can find fulfillment – in the most trying of circumstances.
Life is short
The older we get the clearer it becomes that time passes. And really, when you think about it, all we’ve got is the moment. Sure, we all have cherished memories. And yes, each and every one of us has hopes for the future. But ultimately, if we don’t stay where we are, present at any given moment, we miss out on the experiences. Our senses and our spirituality were given to us for that purpose – to use them – not so that we can escape into our heads. Being present means accepting – and experiencing – the bad stuff too.
When the proverbial crap hits the fan in your life, rather than panicking, take a breather and feel it. Emotions cannot kill you no matter how scary they are. But if you don’t feel them, they can drag you down. Instead, by letting them go through you, what you’ll gain in the end – a lesson no doubt, one that if truly learned, you won’t have to repeat – will help shape who you are in that future you dream about. It may even reconcile some regrets you have about the past. Most importantly, it will expedite your life’s tough times to a healthy speed rather than prolonging them with wallowing. In short, if you spend all your time crying “poor me” and assuming you’ll never get through this, you might not. And what a waste of precious time!
Life is long
Conversely, as quickly as time passes, life is a long and winding road when taken in its totality. That means there are peaks and valleys, twists and turns – many of which simply can’t be avoided. And you wouldn’t really want to, because as cliché as it can sound, the ups don’t feel quite so good without the downs to compare them to. Imagine being happy all the time… It may sound great, but if you think about it – doesn’t a good cry feel pretty terrific every now and then too?
Sadness, anger, introspection are all experiences that re-connect us with ourselves and our highest good. And if you want the peaks – or at least the plateaus – in your road to be longer than the valleys (and the descents), it’s vital to take the most from the madness. That doesn’t mean making madness the most of your life, however. It means facing everything that this time around has to offer and seeing value in every step along the way.
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