Sitting here on my couch on God knows what day of Corona quarantining, it hit me. What if.. I could live my life as if nothing that was going on in the world around me had any impact whatsoever on who I am, what I’m capable of doing, or how I chose to feel. In other words, what if I could live exactly the kind of life I would imagine be possible if I was living in Utopia-like conditions and circumstances.
I’m saying this with full awareness of how sometimes we don’t have a choice about how situational or environmental conditions impact our lives. They just do, whether we like it or not. Kind of like the Coronavirus right now. But what I’m saying is, what if I embraced the mindset and attitude that from now on, I’m not going to concern myself with all the chaotic shit that surrounds my experience in this life.
And I mean all of it: the unnecessary wars, our lying politicians, the media that tries to scare us, our environment in decline, your friend who wronged you, or the stranger that cut you off in traffic.. all of it. All of the suffering and unfortunate things that are happening in my world right now. What if I took the Buddha’s wisdom to heart; to view every single happening in life with a sort of suchness. It’s just what’s happening. That’s it. I don’t add all these layers of meaning on top of it. I just say, “Is that so?”
Oh, it’s Coronavirus now? Is that so?
You might be thinking, what kind of person am I? Do I not care about anyone else but myself? To that I would say, oh yes, I care. I care way too much is the whole problem. But what if by taking this stance in life, I created all kinds of space, and peace, and harmony within myself, so that I could live out the very best version of myself I could possibly live. And in doing so, I actually become far more in service to the world than I ever could if I was stuck in my previous mode of bitching and moaning about every little thing that’s happening around me.
This is it, right here. All we can do in this life is to live the best life possible given the circumstances. To find a way to love ourselves and one another, unconditionally, because deep down we know that we are all actually the same being. That everything in our lives, no matter how grim or bad it may appear, is not happening to us, but rather for us. It’s showing us the way. Even if it’s a highly negative circumstance or event, it created the conditions necessary to get ourselves to the next stage. And the next.
We can see this very clearly looking back. You couldn’t be exactly the person you are today without every single “negative” circumstance, situation, event, person, or trauma that happened in your past. These experiences, in combination with your reactions to them, shape who you are as you go. And yes you could argue you would be an even better person if those negative things didn’t happen, but you can’t control any of that. We’d like to think we can control things other than ourselves, but we can’t always do that. That’s where disappointment and suffering come from.
What we can do is control how we react and feel about what’s happening around us. A good overarching philosophy to adopt in life is to see everything through the lens of equanimity. You don’t get worked up over the negative stuff and similarly, you don’t get too attached to what you consider good. In this way, we reduce our experience of suffering which clears the way for a different way of being that is more capable of happiness, creativity, love and service to others than one could ever achieve by living in resistance to what is. Just imagine what would be possible if we moved from a reaction-based way of living, to a more grounded, centered, and peaceful one.
This is my dream. And deep down, I know it’s entirely possible for all of us to live in this way.
Be grateful for whatever comes. Because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.– Rumi