*warning: f-bombs ahead
I work on going through the flow a lot, on sitting with uncertainty with compassion.
Like any good amateur Buddhist who practices too much yoga (and doesn’t have an OM tattoo), I do my best to see that everything is temporary and changeable.
This helps, sometimes. Like when I’m stuck in traffic, or when it’s negative 20 out in Chicago in March (it happens), or when dealing with the sorrow that comes with the death of a loved one. It helps in these situations because these are situations that I don’t—and can’t—control. I can’t part traffic like the seven seas, I can’t change the weather, and although I wish desperately that I could, I cannot yet heal the sick and dying with the touch of my hand.
I can only sit through the suffering, and know that in time, this too shall pass. That everything that happens is part of the great OM—the great vibration—of the universe (I tell myself a lot of yoga crap throughout the day).
However, you can’t always just sit and wait for things to blow over. If someone’s hitting you with a baseball bat, you can’t wait for them to stop until you’re bludgeoned to death.
You have to get the fuck out of the way of the bat.
Simple. There is no “flowing” with the bat.
Although that’s a bit of an extreme case, I think that in some cases “sitting through the suffering”, can cause more and unnecessary suffering. In a weird, twisted way, it’s almost self-inflicted.
I know that I personally try really hard not to create my own suffering. I think we all do. Who wants to suffer? Suffering sucks.
This means that depending on the circumstance, we have to go directly against the flow of things. It means standing up and summoning the voice of the badass inside (peaceful warrior).
It’s tough to summon up the self-courage to stand up when things are right. Whether this is standing up for yourself when people don’t treat you the way you want—and deserve—to be treated, or speaking for a cause, it’s not easy. The uncertainty that comes with speaking up can be harder to sit with than anything.
That being said, we have voices for a reason: to speak and make our own vibration.
Fighting a fight, even a worthwhile one, hurts. It can bruise you and break you and it’s tough to do the right thing, to say goodbye, to walk away when you need to, to say no, to stop sitting. To care. To struggle.
And isn’t that the beauty of humanity? That struggle, the effort, the blood, sweat, and tears of rolling the boulder up to the top of the mountain only to have it fall down on you and crush you again and again?
Because, even though the universe is there, and we can’t control all of it, we are still a part of the infinite OM. We each make a vibration, and I know I want my vibration to be especially beautiful.
Even if I have to fight (com)passionately for it.
Because I trust that after the compassionate struggle, I will surrender with as much compassion as I struggled with. I will drink in my own beauty, and the beauty of the universe. Imperfect or perfect, it’s there, vibrating away and humming one, dysfunctional, imperfect, off-key, beautiful—imperfectly human—tune.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editorial Assistant: Lizzie Kramer / Editor: Renée Picard