In these difficult times as the world is threatened by a new COVID-19 virus pandemic, stimulating drastic protective measures and restrictions, it helps to think carefully about how we can react to the many challenging situations we experience directly and hear about more generally in a continuous stream on our news channels. Judy Lief, courtesy of Lions Roar newsletter, makes a good point about how we can respond from a place of equanimity, rather than fear:
“There seem to be only two alternatives: the glass is half full or the glass is half empty. But a glass with water up to the midpoint is not making a statement
either way. It is neither half full nor half empty. Neither is it both half full and half empty. Such a water glass is not elated by being half full, nor discouraged by being half empty. It just is: a glass with water in it.
The world just is. It is not a this-versus-that, good-versus-bad world. It is an interdependent world.
This interdependent world is the dancing ground of bodhisattvas, who thrive in the dynamism of life. By recognizing that every sorrow invites a fresh compassionate response, the bodhisattva path gives us a much broader perspective on our situation. Bodhisattvas are the ones who see the depth and breadth of suffering and confusion most clearly, yet they place themselves right in the midst of it.
I have often wondered: how can bodhisattvas sit there so elegantly and smile? It may be because they have learned that no matter how bad things become, it is possible to change one’s attitude on the spot. The flow of compassion cannot be interrupted. In fact, with each new crisis, its flow is increased.
At any moment, as my teacher Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche once told me, ‘You could just cheer up!'”(Judy Lief, Lions Roar 14/3/2020)
Times of emergency trigger huge changes on macro and micro levels of living and these unexpected changes force us to confront the uncertainty evoked by the laws of impermanence and the constant change that we can usually ignore. Now the changes are too big to ignore but we can still find refuge reminding ourselves that we are not separate, isolated beings but an integral, ever changing part of an ever changing, interdependent world. Crises have arisen before but in time they transform and are seen differently. So we can relax and go with what ‘is’. What is happening right now. We can rest in equanimity. There is suffering but the world is still beautiful.
May you all be well and happy,