I didn’t sleep so well last night. My head started spinning, my heart pounding. My new worry: the economy, and how much I have to lose. Yup, I broke all my rules.
I woke up to a cloudy and damp day in Paris. The birds have stopped chirping, save for a solitary crow’s mournful caw. That doesn’t help my gloom. My mood is mercurial these days—proof that my peace of mind is conditional. Something to work on.
This is a test of who we are, what we are capable of. The proverbial rug has been pulled out from under us, sending our world flying. We’re tumbling in the air, upside-down. When we land, things might not be the same. We may have to rebuild our lives. The sooner we embrace this, and stop trying to hang on to that air we’re tumbling in, the sooner we’ll feel like we’re on solid ground.
Don’t fret. We have not lost our security. We have only lost our illusion of security.
The truth: We were already here. We’re just aware of it now. Where we are today—this pandemic, the economy—has been in the making for some time. Lack of affordable healthcare, no job security, small businesses being crushed by big—the pieces were in place. Someone just needed to push the button. This is not a political post, by the way, before you complain in the comments. I’m just stating facts without judgment, realities of the world at large. It’s been bad for a while. Now we know how bad.
The upside? Now you know. And when you know, you can stop trying to grasp at the illusion of security, and plant your feet. Take a look around. Assess the possible outcomes, and begin to address them. Assess whatever is gnawing at the back of your mind—be it emotional or financial—and deal with it. Take whatever action you can to be in a better place tomorrow. We are all in the same boat, so hopefully our governments will do the right thing to ensure we’re not stranded when this tide goes out.
And that security? We’ll have to find it within. The only way to do that is to stop grasping. Get used to flying around loosey-goosey in a life without safety belts. It’s been that way all along, anyway. The more adaptable you keep your mind, the better you’ll weather this—and the better your life will be long after this is over.
Now, I’m going to go re-read my own tips in this diary. Because I need reminding, too.
Tip for the day: Peacefulness is a discipline. Just ask a Buddhist.
There are many schools of Buddhism, but in general there are the four noble truths: 1) existence is suffering; 2) suffering has a cause (craving and attachment); 3) suffering ends (nirvana); 4) there is a path to end suffering: right understanding (of the nature of things, of yourself); right intention (avoiding thoughts that cause suffering); right speech (avoiding harmful or senseless talk); right action (no misdeeds); right livelihood (not being corrupt); right effort (abandoning negative states of mind, etc.); right mindfulness (awareness of thoughts, feelings, and phenomena); right concentration (single-mindedness).
What does all that mean? At the risk of oversimplifying it: spirituality, and the peace that comes with the practice of it, is mindfulness in thought and deed. Awareness. Acceptance. Release. Visualization and meditation. It takes constant work, constant discipline. You suffer when you hang on, when you don’t monitor your inner conversations, when you don’t watch what you feed your mind, or how you behave toward yourself and others. Buddhists believe life is suffering, but they do have an 8-fold action plan to end suffering. When you embrace where you are, you can begin to work on it. Ohm.
Some light Buddhism