Whether your suffering stems from cancer or divorce or loss or conflict, the one who knows understands that it is only in the present that you can heal. The one who knows has the courage to acknowledge the way things are, and to care and love and trust, no matter what. The one who knows sees the bigger picture behind every illness, loss, and death. Wisdom knows that although you may feel that your life or another’s life is ending, new life is always growing in and around you. The universe continues to expand, the Earth continues to turn through the seasons, the soil continues to bring forth new growth.
Even in the moment of your eventual death, mothers will be giving birth, bringing new hope, love, difficulty, and possibility into the world.
Becoming aware and mindful, resting in the one who knows in the midst of your struggles, is not some magical cure. Your problems will not automatically and easily disappear. Being anxious and sad, angry and fearful, hurt, lost, and even despairing in difficult times is part of the natural process of suffering. Even being overwhelmed by challenging emotions is a natural part of the journey. If you judge yourself against some impossible ideal of how you think you “should” be feeling and acting as you struggle, you’ll only add to your suffering. Being alive is finding ourselves in the midst of a great and mysterious paradox.
The one who knows realizes that there are ten thousand joys and sorrows in every life, and at one time or another we will be touched by all of them. We will all experience birth and death, success and loss, love and heartbreak, joy and despair. And in every moment of your life there are millions of humans just like you all over the world who are being confronted by situations that are equally overwhelming and are struggling to somehow learn how to survive them. As George Washington Carver said, “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the strong . . . because some day in life you will have been all of these.”
Jack Kornfield, A Lamp in the Darkness
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