Working with Adversity

by Janelle on November 28, 2011

There’s nothing that does not grow light
Through habit and familiarity.
Putting up with little cares,
I’ll train myself to bear with great adversity.

-Shantideva A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life

It’s near impossible to begin training our minds toward patience and non-attachment with the great adversities of life. So we find the small sufferings as our practice ground. A long line at the grocery store. A traffic jam. A movie we really want to see is sold out. Here we can test and experience how mindfulness works for us. We can watch our minds unfold: thoughts, sensations, feelings, beliefs-stories. If we find ourselves in a moment of realized suffering and we accept it, loosen the grip of preference and experience it for what it is it can become a opportunity for freshness and even freedom. We can also see how the same “little care” can become a story that can ruin an evening or a day. If we can remove the extraneous sufferings through our habitual tendency to create stories of bad and good based on our limited preferences we can find a sense of peace and relaxation. Moreover, when the great adversities do come we will have a ground to stand upon.

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