“Life is suffering. There’s a way beyond suffering.” – The Buddha
“In this life are many tribulations, but be of good cheer.” – Jesus the Christ
“My situation is a gift, a gift wrapped in pain, but a gift nonetheless” – Michael J. Fox
Okay, so you’ve heard me state many times over the last several blogs that at some point we all must decide to be a “lover of life or a lover of fantasy.” Some of you have asked, “What does that mean?”
This is an important topic—really important—and we’ll probably need to take a series of conversations to walk through it step by step. If you’ll stick with me I think it’ll be worth it.
The three quoted above are all attempting to convey the same message to us. But I’m not sure we’re listening. The reality of life with its “suffering, tribulations, and gifts wrapped in pain” is often a hard pill to swallow.
When I say “life is hard” or “life is messy” many still attempt to deny it, attack, or at minimum put a “positive spin” on it. But no matter how hard they spin, they still continue to experience doubt, fear and frustration; and the more we resist these human characteristics, the more they persist.
Some fond of Eastern teaching want to “wax Eastern” and tout “it’s an illusion James.” Let me challenge you to kick a brick with your bare foot and tell me the pain you feel is an illusion—it’ll hurt like hell (no don’t test me on this literally).
I encourage the Eastern advocate to consider that you’re a Westerner; and you were not born into the West by accident. The “dharma” (purpose) if you will of the West is very different from the East; and the biggest mistake you can make in my opinion is to attempt to adopt the robes and practices of another culture.
Now if I just lost you, please disregard the above two paragraphs as they’re obviously not written for you. Truth is one, and yet there are many paths to the same place (even your GPS knows this).
Bottom line, Buddha also stated: “All human unhappiness comes from not facing reality squarely, exactly as it is.” Love this.
Stop chasing positive emotions. Authentic happiness has nothing to do with the temporary dopamine spike the masses call “happiness.” Read more about it here.
The first step to being a lover of life versus fantasy is to see things clearly, exactly as they are. A nail is a nail, not candy. Pain is pain. Difficulty is difficult; and the more you resist the more it persists. It’s all a part of life–real life.
See clearly, be a lover of life,