Do you think you are brave? Courageous? Willing to take a stand? Fight for your principles? Take on injustice?
Well, here’s another view.
That’s not really the hard path. The hard path — where courage is really needed — is to accept that adversity as a fact of life. To be present in the face of the suffering for which you are all ready to take up the good fight.
We all seem to think that the world should be somehow different than it is. And, being good citizens, and very altruistic, we would like to be a force for that change, right? Social activists. Politically involved. Green consumers. Back to nature. Anti-war. Truth and justice.
Well, what if that was the wrong first step? What if that fundamental premise — that the world should be different than it is — puts us on the slippery slope of right/wrong, good/evil, us/them. Do you see it?
Consider this a test. You can feel your inherent reaction to this idea. Let go of that. Expand your thinking. Open your eyes and your mind.
I think the question, then, is can you be so courageous as to be present for another’s pain and suffering, or your own. Accept the fact that life will deal you happiness, sorrow, and everything in between, and it is NOT your job to change things.
Maybe now you can see just how hard this task will be. And why it will require such an act of bravery.
”As long as we are caught up in always looking for certainty and happiness, rather than honoring the taste and smell and quality of exactly what is happening, as long as we’re always running away from discomfort, we’re going to be caught in a cycle of unhappiness and disappointment, and we will feel weaker and weaker. This way of seeing helps us to develop inner strength.”
-- Pema Chödrön