Reflections on strength

Strength is a soft, agile and open mind that bears witness to life, rather than trying to fight against or live around undesirable experiences. Strength is our willingness to stay present in the face of uncertainty.

What good is suffering? It can make us bitter. The transformative aspect of suffering comes about through the realization that we’re big enough to face this inevitable aspect of life. The great beings of all traditions understand the principles of accommodating all of it. They accept life and don’t try to live around it. This means that they bear witness, along with everything else, to pain and sadness, which is why the wise – although free at heart and full of mirth – always have a glimmer of sadness in their eyes. From Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel in her book, The Power of an Open Question.

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What can you embrace in your life today? In living through the dissolution of a marriage, the disappearance of a doted cat and the aging journey of a parent, my personal suffering rises most when I fight to control, to maintain something like normality. I wonder whose measuring stick I am using when I try to stay stuck, resisting the unfolding of these matters in their own time. By practicing letting go of expectations, letting up on trying to fix everything and letting out what arises within me, I am patiently and not so patiently letting my own life come. Humbling, yes. Frustrating – yes, especially when what comes and goes is not what I want. Open to possibilities not yet known – absolutely. That open unfolding seems to be a thread, the evolving pulse of life. I surrender. Thank you.

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