Even after mountains of evidence and example, I am still stunned how much perspective changes things.
I’m humbled daily by how something feels in one moment, and how different if feels in the next.
The great wisdom teachers tell us everything changes, that it’s inevitable.. that “this too shall pass”… ( both good and bad, crap! ) .
On the good days, I surrender to it. On the not so good, I’m like a stumbling around old man with dementia. When I emerge for the darkness, I’m amazed again how easy it is to forget.
That’s why a mindfulness practice, a serious commitment to wisdom teachings and a circle of noble friends are so essential for me. The combination drags me from the darkness into the light all the time….
When the inevitable struggle overwhelms me, the best tool I’ve found is to expand– if I’m feeling stressed and too crazy busy, I add more work, not less. That helps me figure out in a hurry what I really need to focus on.
If I’m feeling board and restless ( danger! danger! ) I need to expand my playground, make stuff happen.
When I’m sad, lonely, happy, emotional, angry– I need bigger perspective– it changes me so quickly– it’s really hard to consider a problem a problem when you look at it thru a the lens of our global humanity……
“An aging master grew tired of his apprentice’s complaints.
One morning, he sent him to get some salt. When the apprentice returned, the master told him to mix a handful of salt in a glass of water and then drink it.
“How does it taste?” the master asked.
“Bitter,” said the apprentice.
The master chuckled and then asked the young man to take the same handful of salt and put it in the lake. The two walked in silence to the nearby lake and once the apprentice swirled his handful of salt in the water, the old man said, “Now drink from the lake.”
As the water dripped down the young man’s chin, the master asked, “How does it taste?”
“Fresh,” remarked the apprentice.
“Do you taste the salt?” asked the master.
“No,” said the young man.
At this the master sat beside this serious young man, and explained softly, “The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains exactly the same. However, the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things.
Stop being a glass. Become a lake.”
~Mark Nepo (a Hindu parable)
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