I feel blessed that I’ve never felt true devastation. The closest I’ve come to it is when I lost my grandparents. This is not to say that pain like this will never touch my life again. I know that it’s just a part of living in this world. And this world is extraordinary, beautiful and productive. It’s important to remember that in the face of utter destruction.
I draw this philosophy and approach from Buddhist teachings and other less defined forms of spirituality. That and just generally observing human behavior. The main principle is to tread lightly. The image I always see is that of skimming water. There is still displacement but there’s less impact than a cannonball, right? It’s also a whole lot less selfish because now people don’t have to change their shoes.
Studying these concepts and actually practicing them are two different stories. One or my worst traits is my lack of patience. I can sometimes be reactionary and not fully think through the consequences. I also have a flair for drama. I recently noticed that a moth from our old apartment in Toronto had put holes in several of my sweaters, basically leaving them ruined. I commented that “it’s like we’re living in Victorian England,” to which my husband responded, “it’s like we living a house filled with hyperbolic statements.” I gave him a “humph” but I can’t disagree. But recognizing these flaws and trying to improve on them is the first honorable step. It’s always a work in progress and I’m just trying to live as respectfully as possible. Plus, these traits can sometimes make me brave.
So how exactly do you become enlightened? Well, the simplest route is to always seek the middle ground. Here are some examples: acknowledge the shortcomings in the world but also see the good; don’t place anything on a pedestal, imperfections are what provide richness in life; there are always different approaches and various ways of being, respect that; and you’ll only have a letdown if you build something up too much, simmer down and just enjoy it while it lasts. The principle: moderation in all things.
Therefore, when hard times approach you won’t completely fall apart. True grit is often more valuable than privilege, wealth or even talent. It’s what keeps you going.