In a satsang here in Rishikesh yesterday with Shanti Mayi someone asked “how can we be happy when there is so much suffering in the world?” The answer was that it’s not only possible but necessary in order to spark any change.
She continued that if fear and misery breed the same, we create a very ugly world and become blind to the beauty and wonders that belong to us all in any condition at any time. If we or our community and loved ones are suffering, we can offer deep listening, compassionate speech and feed also the beauty and joy that is also in them.
The fantastic mantra ‘this too shall pass’ is familiar and well used for most of us at different times in our lives. This matra was one I’d only use with the things in my life I want to end, never the things that brought me happiness. A couple of years ago I started silently chanting this with my mala, bringing to every bead a situation, an emotion, an inspiration. Not only the things that brought suffering but everything since everything is impermanent. This exercise helped me to understand more deeply that suffering doesn’t exist without happiness nor happiness without suffering, ever. After 108 repetitions with different circumstances in your life, let me tell you, you will feel rich with experience and I’ll bet my bottom dollar, grateful.
Today I found my eyes tearing with an overwhelming sense of love and gratitude for this life, all life, this precious moment in the Himalayas listening to singing accompanied by a world class violinist. I took a deep sigh. There was also absolute clarity that this moment was connected to and belonged to my suffering. My life, like yours has also had no shortage of suffering nor will it, nor should it. This is a full life.
Thich Nhat Hanh use to tell us to live in such a way that we support and breed a happiness bank that that we can draw from when life gets challenging.
Suffering and mistakes are profound teachers to help us appreciate the sun when it’s out. Thay also use to say “wake up and give thanks to your mouth that you don’t have a toothache.”
Today I hope you find courage to hug your suffering and doubly kiss your joy,With love from India,
PS. Perhaps it's time for a workshop on using the malas rather than just wear them? Maybe in the fall. Let's talk about it at the Yoga Conference in Toronto mid April where we will have a wonderful selection of powerful new malas. xo
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