I felt my heart soften, and harden, and then soften again… For innumerable times as I read this book. The stories and replies seem to reveal some of the deepest emotions and feelings human beings could experience. Reading the stories made me slightly pessimistic at first. Why is there so much suffering in the world?
But towards the end of the book, I felt a change. It was no longer “why is there suffering”, but more of “there is suffering, BUT..”
But there is always a choice. But there is always a way out, as long as we want it badly enough. But things will get better. But we will survive. But we will get there. But it’s ok!
As I introspect, I go on to realise that I myself, like so many of the letter writers to the column, suffer mainly because of the difficult emotions within, because we don’t know how to handle them, and allow them to manifest in dysfunctional thought processes and words and actions which end up harming ourselves and others more.
I am reminded of some wise words
, that we need to learn how to embrace our difficult emotions as well as the “good” emotions. Because our difficult emotions are part of us too, and like everything and everyone else, all they want is to be accepted. Embraced. Validated. We need to learn how to take care of our emotions, instead of bashing ourselves up over them. This is one point of living “Tiny Beautiful Things” has highlighted for me. Only when we have accepted the presence and of our difficult circumstances and emotions without judgement, can we begin to move forward and make changes in the direction we want.
In the span of 2 weeks: What started off feeling like a muscle strain in the right foot degenerated into tendonitis. The slight discomfort experienced while walking has become full-out limping. It goes without saying that I won’t be playing the piano with my right foot pedaling for awhile.
But I am also immensely thankful that in this foreign country, I still have people I can go to for help, people who take care of me without asking for anything in return, people who call to check on me just to see if I’m ok.
And simple pleasures I can still partake.
Prayers and well-wishes are greatly appreciated for now!
“Generally speaking, one begins by identifying those factors which lead to happiness, and those factors which lead to suffering. Having done this, one gradually eliminates those factors which lead to suffering and cultivates those which lead to happiness.”
Sounds easy, doesn’t it?
Let’s see… Factors which lead to suffering? The Ego. Desires. Fear.
Factors which lead to happiness: Compassion. Love. Selflessness.
Now that we’ve identified them, the actual elimination and cultivation can begin.
And this is the story of Life.