– Chandler Bing, Friend
“When heaven is about to confer a great responsibility on any man, it will exercise his mind with suffering, subject his sinews and bones to hard work, expose his body to hunger, put him to poverty, place obstacles in the paths of his deeds, so as to stimulate his mind, harden his nature, and improve wherever he is incompetent.”
– Meng Tzu, Chinese Philosopher
I have a really long commute. 2 hours, one way. It sucks, and some days seems unmanageable. Good news, I’m moving in with my boy! I have just 8 more days until those 13 hour days making $12 an hour will become distant memories.
Even though I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, some days until then might be a ‘lil rough. Some days get to you, they can crush even the best of spirits. I think it’s important to let yourself feel emotions, even the negative ones. It’s not possible to be completely detached from the world, because we are a part of it. The daily grind of life can be overwhelming –as long as you try to keep that feeling contained– not allowing it to spread too far into other moments or aspects of your life, I believe it’s beneficial to feel that negativity.
Yesterday was rough, today is a bit too because I have no sleep in me. On the commute I mediated on the beauty of the PNW. Every day, as I travel the 30 miles to work I get to see the most beautiful sights; the most gorgeous shots of Seattle, a clear view Rainer over the ocean. Today these sights reminded me that I was here because I needed to be. I took the road less traveled by coming out west so abruptly, with little to no planning. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made; even though some of my very worst times have been here.
There is beauty in suffering, but in order to find that beauty you have to feel the pain. It might be cliché, but it’s a compelling argument against detachment from feelings, and from a unique angle.
One of the selling points of stoicism and Buddhism is the ability to detach yourself from “bad moods”. Being able to step away from them so they can’t control you. The practice of meditation will help you accomplish this, after a long long while. Mediation has helped me so much with my anxiety and negative thoughts.
Occasionally I find myself at a road block with Buddhism, and today is one of those times. If I were in a “normal” non-tainted by emotion state, I’m not sure I would have had that very beautiful experience on the bus. Most of my road blocks come from when I’m feeling euphoric, I get the most incredible euphoria that I have a hard time wanting to meditate it away. This is the first roadblock, so to speak, where negativity has made a case for itself in my head.
The key is to separate the frustrating aspects of your “bad day” from all the other good stuff. So your mind isn’t clouded when really good things happen! Because a day can’t be 100% bad, ever.
Peace&Love–Molly Jo Sexton