March 30, 2009

Love your Fate.

Now, I’m not a big fan of self-help. In the Buddhist tradition, we view such stuff as “how to protect your ego against reality when reality doesn’t fulfill your mundane or over-the-top fantasies.” In Buddhism, we view tough times as a wake up call, as no better or worse than good times, when everything seems to be going your way. That doesn’t mean we don’t want a life that’s fulfilled, in harmony with our friends and nature and full of love etc. It just means that we want happiness based on reality, not temporary bull. Sakyong Mipham, for one, describes how to deal with such tough times fare more eloquently, and succinctly, than can I.

So does Joseph Campbell (with thanks for the tip to Upaya Zen Center‘s wonderful, free e-newsletter):

“Nietzsche was the one who did the job for me. At a certain moment in his life, the idea came to him of what he called “the love of your fate.” Whatever your fate is, whatever the hell happens, you say, “This is what I need.” It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge. If you bring love to that moment—not discouragement—you will find the strength is there. Any disaster that you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege! This is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow.

Then, when looking back at your life, you will see that the moments which seemed to be great failures followed by wreckage were the incidents that shaped the life you have now. You’ll see that this is really true. Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not. The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes.”

~ Joseph Campbell

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