Over the past year people have faced a pandemic, a volatile political climate, economic hardship, and everyday life has been a far departure from the norm for so many. I have seen those I love, strangers, and myself , try to deal with feelings of despair, depression, and sadness from the uncertainty and the adversity of these times. I have made a concerted effort to deal with these feelings within myself and done my best to only worry about what I can control. However, I recognize how challenging these times are for so many people, especially for some of the ones I love. Seeing all the pain and suffering made me think of a buddhist idea I heard about.
Often when we face pain and suffering, the intensity of it seems so great at the time, that we begin to identify ourselves with negative facets of life like pain and suffering, even after it ceases. We forget about positive facets of life because we are so worried about when the next bout of pain and suffering will take place and we worry about whether will ever get past the pain and suffering. What we fail to realize is that no matter how intense the pain and suffering is, it is just a single facet of existence and not the entirety of existence. There are also positive aspects of life like feelings of joy, happiness, and laughter, to name a few.
Existence is all these feelings, not just one of them. The buddhist idea said that life is like licking a razor blade covered in honey. As we lick the blade, we taste the sweet honey while simultaneously tasting our own blood from our sliced tongue. This gruesome analogy illustrates how life is all things at once. We are not just the negative or just the positive, but we are both, at the same time.
When we realize this we begin to get past the pain and suffering because we know it is just a thing, and it will come to pass and it will come again. Just like we know that positivity will come to pass and will come again. We no longer identify ourselves as one or the other, but all things and we begin to live.
And we can make it past this year of so much uncertainty and adversity when we realize that for every pandemic there is a cure, and for every bit of political volatility there is reform, and for every hardship there is prosperity.