Chapter 11: ‘Finding Meaning in Pain and Suffering’
“And the time and effort we spend searching for meaning in suffering will pay great rewards when bad things begin to strike. But in order to reap those rewards, we must begin our search when things are going well. A tree with strong roots can withstand the most violent storm, but the tree can’t grow roots just as the storm appears on the horizon.”
This to me made so much sense when I read it. I tend to spend far more time when I’m sad to focus on introspection, and channeling the negative energy into hyper motivation for improving myself and my life. But there is only so much you can face when you are at a low point, and to derive the ability to truly challenge your fears and weaknesses must come from a point of strength. Finding meaning in suffering. To develop a calmness of mind that can protect against suffering from overwhelming you when it occurs, keeping you grounded like the tree roots, as the storm blows over. This reminds of sports, or of any activity really. Repetition until it becomes second nature, so then during competition time or whatever, you are reacting with the best that you are at that time.
“If there is a solution to the problem, there is no need to worry. If there is no solution, there is no sense in worrying either.”
I am going to put this up on my door to remind myself in the morning everyday when I wake up. I tend to be very solution orientated, and do best at the things that I know I can fix, solve, or work towards. But the things I have no control over are very hard for me, and this quote is just so logical and reminds me that if there is truly nothing you can do to change the situation, well thats just it. You can’t do anything, so why worry. Much easier said than done of course, but I see this very much connected with the previous quote of growing strong roots, in that by practicing calmness and acceptance with the smaller things, and practicing it often, it prepares you for the bigger challenges when they come. I also liked that he did not say ‘forgive and forget’. Rather, forgive, without forgetting, but the memory need not be a painful reminder of the past. It just is.. a memory, a thing that happened. It is out of your control, it is the past, so accept it what you cannot change, but you do not forget it.
“But one definition of love, and perhaps the most pure and exalted kind of love, is an utter, absolute, and unqualified wish for the happiness of another individual. It is a heartfelt wish for the other’s happiness regardless of whether he does something to injure us or even whether we like him. .. So if our definition of love is based on a genuine wish for someone’s happiness, then each of us does in fact love himself or herself – every one of us sincerely wishes for his or her own happiness.” pg. 240
I almost feel that by writing any thoughts after it takes away from the beauty of the words. Both parts were powerful to me. That love is an unqualified wish for the happiness of another individual. We may perhaps experience possessive love, or negative love, but I think to truly love someone, whether that person is a friend, family, or partner, then that means you want the best for them. And they want the best for you. And if we sincerely wish for our own happiness, I think it is a duty to selfishly pursue that which gives us fulfillment in life. And perhaps this is a lifelong journey to discover and practice what makes you happy, truly happy, but this is the expression of self-love.