People will always have feelings about you or your way of living. For instance, how many famous artists, authors, surfers who simply shared and do what they love getting called lazy, or told they need to get a job. Then they get famous and everyone wants to be like them. My point there is, no blueprint for life, no schematics you can rely on. I am good at telling your future… ( a famous well known monk says this) it’s going to be uncertain, 100% uncertainty. No fate or ideological ideas that everything are all in concrete. I have spoke with a patient in spiritual care. He was told he had 4 months to live, it had been 10 years since that false prediction. Nobody knows tomorrow, nobody’s future is entirely mapped out. So never believe what you are told or hearing always. People beat odds every day and people labelled lazy or told they need a direction in life, then end up successful. Likewise the people in great jobs with life seemingly all mapped out lose the lot.
Often in life our reality is shaped from delusional ideas imprinted from family, education or our cultural heritage. The first noble truth in the Buddha’s teachings is understanding suffering. Really it’s understanding reality as it is.
They use a Pali word dukkha
Birth is dukkha, aging is dukkha, death is dukkha, sorrow, laminations, pain and grief despair are duhhha, association with the unbeloveded is dukkha, sepeperation from the loved is dukkha, not getting what we want is dukkha, etc..
In English it sums up reality in terms of heartbreak and loss, rising and falling success in business, relationships and all aspects of life. There are four of the foundational truths the Buddha taught this being the first is much misunderstood. Some people’s considerations are the Buddhist thoughts of life is just about misery and sadness’s? The best metaphor I have discovered is a coin. The coin of life is happiness and suffering, we are born with this coin and have to take on both sides
In affluent societies like Australia happiness is the root word that sells, cars, houses and a variety of other things. What they don’t show is the person whose car got repossessed or the bank taking back the household due to unforeseen circumstances or plain bad management. The chasing of happiness is the source of the suffering, often people assuming if they get a certain object of relationship things will be happy. If this was true and a great schematic to live by people like Elvis and others would not have resorted escapism, to-do such extent that it cost them their lives, often many years earlier than expected.
And then, how do we approach reality? We keep things loosely and always remember our gratitude for what we have, even if all you own is great health. Loosely, is utilised here in terms of knowing everything changes every day and we never cannot be certain of outcomes. So clinging to things will ultimately cause more hurt. We can observe, appreciate and have a grateful heart, still with the knowledge of impermanence. Clinging to things brings with it tons of fear, of failure, loss, possibilities of dissatisfaction.
Even when we finally, finally find peace or happiness this can induce fear, loss and feelings around possibly trust and betrayal.
‘The truth about life is it’s uncertain and it is never going to be made safe and secure,
The world is without shelter and protection. This is the first expounding of Dhamma…
The World is not one’s own; one must pass away leaving everything; this is the third expounding of Dhamma…
The world is deficient, unsatisfied, a slave of craving; this is the forth expounding of the Dhamma.’From Access To Light
So, the bottom line is seeing reality for what it is, this sets us free. The freedom in accepting reality puts us on a path of liberation. We cannot run from ourselves, death, illness or bad decisions. We can embrace all of ourselves and life and enjoy our experiences. In tough times we know life offers both sides of the coin, so no surprises when things don’t go our way always. We just do our best to learn and keep on living.