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Lions Roar : July 2009
SHAMBHALA SUN jULy 2009 73 As we go through life, we face many joys and discover- ies and many problems and difficulties. we have continual ups and downs. over time, most of us go through economic up- turns and downturns, health ups and downs, relationship ups and downs—all sorts of ups and downs. As we are tossed about, we are gradually toughened and refined, like rocks tumbled in a stream. the more obstacles we encounter and manage to survive and overcome, the stronger we become. on the path of dharma, we are encouraged to view difficulties as opportunities for awakening, not simply as roadblocks. the combination of study and meditative training gives us tools to work with what arises as it arises, whether good or bad, happy, or sad. But the more we increase our ability to deal with our own obstacles, the more we become painfully aware that we may not be able to help others—our family, our friends, people in our communities—who are struggling in similar ways. in this world of duality, every experience has its shadow. the wish that others may be happy and not suffer is marked by the fact that at times we can help, but many times we cannot. when we are faced with suffering, and we cannot fix it, what do we do with that recognition? how do we cultivate acceptance rather than despair, anger, and frustration? Although times are tough, we may have a way of working with hardships, but we cannot always say the same about those we care about. we may struggle and it may not be easy, but we have some degree of control, and when we make mistakes we can learn from them. having gone through difficulties before, and somehow come through them, we may feel fairly confident that we can once again see our way through. what we have to work with is close at hand: our own mind, our own emotions, our own body, our own blockages and hesitations. we know what we are dealing with, and we can draw on what we have learned when facing similar problems in the past. But we have no control over other people. Although we want the best for our family, for the people we love, we cannot The more we increase our ability to deal with our own difficulties, the more aware we become that we can’t solve the troubles of family and friends. But, says Judy Lief, we can learn to be with one another just as we are. The Problem With Problems photoBylizAmAtthews