Learning from Lessons.


Buddha, or  Siddhārtha Gautama, was a sage whose methods became the basis of Buddhism.  The Buddha introduced the concept of dharma and acknowledged that life is full of suffering.  Through the suffering, one must find enlightenment.  Thus, this quote is honorable reflection on life in a Buddhist light: “Every experience, no matter how bad it seems, holds within it a blessing of some kind.  The goal is to find it.”

I hate when someone is a successful person and all of his or her peers complain that “(S)he’s got it easy” or that “Everything always falls in his/her lap”.  When is that ever the case?  I’ve never known that to be the case, but people have certainly said that behind my back… and I know nothing has ever come easily to me.  Maybe I didn’t grow up on the streets, but I had been then maybe the expectations placed on me would have been less tantalizing.  Maybe small life strides would have appeared as larger leaps in their respective circumstances.  Rather than seeing what someone has, I therefore prefer to see how far he or she has come and the choices he/she has made – but only in conjunction with the way he/she has handled the consequences.

So in thinking about the measures of success and the decisions we make in life, I like to reflect on this quote of the Buddha’s to keep our aspirations grounded, not with restraint but as a demonstration of displacement to remind us of how far we go every time in take a leap forwards or backwards, to look back and see how much of the scenery we did or didn’t miss along the way.  In the same way that I think it is important for us, as this quote suggests, to reflect on how far we have come and what lessons we have taken from both our successes and failures, I also think it’s important to refrain from judging anyone who has made the same choices or strode to the same destination.

“Every bad thing happens for a reason” is something my mom always reminds me of.  Why did I forget my wallet and have to come home, making me late?  Because I might have hit that deer that is now long gone, and I was not meant to hit that deer.  Not today.  It grounds me to realize being a few minutes late is trivial, to remember what bad things could happen, and to be glad that things worked out the way they will always work out.

But even when I make bad choices, it’s always a door-opener.  Maybe I feel like it opens a door to a place farther backwards from where I was standing before I made that choice, but in choosing to open the best door I make that commitment to going forward again.  And if we never made those little mishaps along the way, wouldn’t we in turn be missing more doors and missing what it looks like to be standing behind ourselves?  It’s what you take from it that defines you.  So keep that in mind and listen to Buddha!


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