Buddha taught that life is suffering. He also taught why that was, but today I want to focus on the first piece, the simple declaration of what is true. Life is suffering. I’ve written in countless posts about how I can’t understand the suffering in the world and that other people’s suffering causes me pain. Reading IF and pregnancy loss blogs fills me with incredible sadness and I frequently become wrapped up in the unfairness of life.
Now that I have a daughter I’m acutely aware of how much I have to lose. The thought of living life without my daughter inspires a physical and emotion devastation that I cannot fathom and surely would not survive. I could spend my entire life worrying that my daughter might fall ill, be kidnapped, injure herself, or be afflicted by some other horror. I could easily torture myself with the “what ifs” and the “what thens”.
I could also try to make sense of the pain and suffering of all those around me, of the women who have lost children, of the children who have lost parents, of the people who have lost loved ones, of all the countless losses shouldered by people around the world.
But none of that would get my anywhere, because life is full of suffering and no pondering that suffering makes it go away.
I think, for the first time, I’m realizing that.
How can I just realize something I’ve written about countless times?
I suppose it’s not that I’m just realizing that life if full of suffering, but that I’m accepting the suffering without judgement.
In the past I’ve faced the suffering of life kicking and screaming, hurling recriminations and bellowing that it’s not fair.
And while it remains unfair, the suffering in life has to be accepted.
For some reason today I can accept that life is full of suffering without it causing me to suffer. I can just accept it for what it is.
And while the idea of losing my daughter still paralyzes me in ways I cannot articulate, I feel acceptance that it is a possibility. Not resignation, but acceptance. Of course I’d still try to move heaven and Earth to save my little girl from any harm, but the uncertainty of her wellbeing no longer holds me hostage.
I don’t know what has brought about this acceptance. I don’t know if I’ll be able to embrace it tomorrow or the next day. I do know that it brings with it a peace that I cherish and want to nourish.
I have let life lead me away from my practices of mindfulness, acceptance and loving kindness. One of my goals in the new year will be to reincorporate them into my daily life. I intend to write many more Mindful Monday posts in the months to come.
Until then, I accept the suffering of this world. That doesn’t mean I don’t feel the pain of others and their losses, but it does mean I no longer writhe against them.