The times when you are suffering can be those when you are most open, and where you are extremely vulnerable can be where your greatest strength really lies. Say to yourself: “I am not going to run away from this suffering. I want to use it in the best and richest way I can, so that I can become more compassionate and more helpful to others.” Suffering, after all, can teach us about compassion. If you suffer you will know how it is when others suffer. And if you are in a position to help others, it is through your suffering that you will find the understanding and compassion to do so. – Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
Aftermath is sometimes heavier and harder than the event it follows. I find the above quote especially helpful because it reminds me that when I am riven by events, I am very much “more open”, albeit unexpectedly and at times, unwillingly so.
That latter part, “unwillingly” is what got me thinking about the above quote; reminding me that “daily life” tends in this world often causes me to be unwilling to work at remaining “this open” or “this tenderized” or “this attentive” to the activities and feelings of those around me.
It is a pretty unending struggle, to remain dedicated to the activity of being open to others and being willing to experience and endure hardships and, more importantly, to be engaged, involved, and constantly surrendering to the wish to lend or mend or tend when the chance presents itself.
I have a particular situation and person in mind at this moment, as I write this; someone who I just cannot seem to grant such things to because I’m still stinging from the unkindness and remorselessness that I perceive from them. Of course, the key words are “that I perceive”; I cannot say I know this person intended to be unkind, nor can I say they are remorseless… even as have insisted to myself (and others) that this is the fact of the case.
To be sure, I have not allowed myself to be open to this someone; this is mostly because I’d rather things remain murky and unknown, and that I continue to hurt for it, than run the risk of having it made explicit (or worse, repeated) by attempting to engage and discuss and hear from them so it would be possible “to know”.
Silly human behavior, of course, but then, I am as silly a human as ever anyone else could be. Still, in this moment, I have at least one moment of wishing I were otherwise and admitting that it is possible if only I allow it.
At the funeral, they placed baskets of silk flowers in the vestibule and asked that everyone take one away with them. They asked specifically that we not keep them but, instead, give them to someone we encounter as a gesture of the kind of openness and giving that dad had so naturally for everyone he met.
Mine is still in my unpacked suitcase… but I wish I’d had the presence of mind to do what I think about doing now. Hm. Maybe I still can and maybe, if fortune and karma are kind, it would still be remembered as what it is when it arrives.
I suppose we’ll see.
Om Benza Sattva Hum