Sunday, August 29, 2010

Words of Wisdom

"You know, you make some things sound harder than they seem."

A wise woman shared those words with me yesterday, and I didn't place much thought into them until now. I thought to myself of all the instances that this particular phrase was uttered and I came to realize it was during times of stress and anxiety over a very simple, (and often times) menial task within the grand scheme of life. How much easier would life be if we simply took a moment to step back, breathe and examine the majestic tapestry of our lives.

Don't get me wrong life is complicated, full of suffering, and sometimes we feel so battered and broken we want to throw our hands up and quit. But how much of that suffering is brought upon our own hands, how much of it is necessary? We tend to focus too much of our time and attention on the shortcomings and mistakes of the past while in constant fear of the trials to come in the future that we forget that life is impermanent and in constant flux. Life is chaotic, one day you might experience extraordinary suffering or the next might be the best day of your life. There is nothing guiding this, sh*t just happens. We naturally deal with suffering by looking for someone to blame or to take our frustration out on (including ourselves). But this line of thinking is a misguided notion that people have power over the chaos of the universe. Not all events are caused by the hand of man and those that are may have originally begun with good intentions.

So how do we keep calm during stressful and anxious moments? By realizing that THIS moment will pass into the next and there is no guarantee that the next moment will be pleasurable or painful. I admit that statement bothers me, and it should bother you too. It sounds heartless without an ounce of compassion, but it's true, sh*t happens and sometimes there's nothing we can do about it. So who do we rely on during troubling times? Each other. By embracing the chaos of the universe we relinquish the fear of the future and the ghosts of our past, but this can only be done if we have others to lean on. This is why Adam was given a partner in Genesis, because it is not good for man to be alone. Our neighbors aren't perfect yet that is the single most beautiful trait of our humanity: it is through our shared imperfection and brokenness can we weather the storm of life's tragedies. Simple, no? I believe Kohelet, or Solomon as he's popularly known, summed up the simplicity of life in Ecclesiastes: have a few good friends, a good job, and eat, drink, and be merry. Simple and wise like the woman who shared the opening quote, my wife.

Peace and blessings.

1 comment:

Doug B said...

A very good read! I've turned to Kohelet many times for advice. I really like Epicurus also.

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