This Too, Will Pass ~ FROM BLACK TO WHITE

ALONG THE WAY, LIFE often seems to grow heavier and harder than before we set our feet upon it. But although this is so, it is not the only thing we find; at the same time, we grow correspondingly stronger, and able to carry not only our own load, but to reach out and help others carry theirs, who otherwise might be struggling and staggering along.

Sometimes, too, we might think in despair: "Why did I ever get into this? The Way is so difficult and the Goal so far, and I feel too weak to reach it." But there is no going back; there is, moreover, no staying here, for the present is transitory and cannot be clung to as a support. We must go on, so take heart from all those who trod the Path before us; they had their trials, too, just as will all those who come after us.

We can take only one step at a time, and the next step is always the most important—and often the most difficult—of our life, because it is the next step, and each succeeding step will be 'the next step.' We must keep our sight fixed upon it, and not strain our eyes gazing up at the mountain-top, through the mists and clouds that enshroud it, wondering what it is like up there. We shall get there in due course if we pursue the Way, step by step. The desire for quick results often blinds us to the results that appear quite suddenly and quietly, and not infrequently; we look for things, but do not see what is here.

Remember: All things change. Just around the corner may be that element, that factor, that will change, mysteriously, the whole picture; it need not be something big, dramatic or stupendous, but might be something seemingly trivial; it will make all the difference, however, and you will wonder why you had felt depressed before.

If we can open ourselves to the changes of life instead of resisting them, our passage along the ever-flowing river will not be so rough. We must accept our vulnerability and stop pretending we are supermen. As human-beings who are—let's face it—not yet enlightened, we are subject to various kinds of mental disorders; but this is not unusual—indeed, it is to be expected. The Buddha said that all unenlightened beings are crazy, in varying degrees—or words to that effect. So we need not feel too bad about it, as we are not alone in this. Neither must we remain like this forever, as we can change, and must allow ourselves the possibility to do so, and not be so hard on ourselves. If we do not, then one day, perhaps, unable to live with ourselves any longer, we might throw ourselves beneath a train or take an overdose of something or other.

If we become sad, we should recognize that sadness has arisen because of certain causes, and, having arisen, will also pass away, like everything else. If we grasp at the sadness and become sad about being sad, then we will be double-sad, and it will go on and on like that. The same is true if we are angry; we shouldn't be angry about being angry, but should see it as it is, and let it go.

Something else we should not forget is to stand back at times, and look at ourselves from a distance, to see ourselves on the stage of Life. Oftentimes, we take ourselves too seriously, and lose perspective. While it is true that there is a lot of suffering in the world, there are moments of happiness and comedy, too; it is not a complete tragedy. The ability to look on the bright side and laugh at ourselves at times, is a priceless thing, and can sustain us through all kinds of hardships.

Followers of the Way learn, during their journey, to see the white in the black, where before, all seemed black; when they become adept at this, they may change black into white, and the rocks in their path will no longer be seen as obstacles but as stepping-stones. A different way of looking at things can often change our understanding of them considerably. Look at any object within reach of you right now—a pen, for example: most of us see a pen as merely an instrument to write with, but to the man who conceived the idea of a pen, and who struggled, by trial-and-error, and probably with much frustration, to create it, it was much more than that; he knew it from every possible angle, and knew it, no doubt, with love, too. There is wonder all around us, at every turn, and everything has its story. The problem is, our eyes are old and tired and we do not see clearly. We say: "My life is so ordinary and boring; nothing interesting ever happens to me." This, of course, is not true; life is never boring but always new and different. If we were to examine ourselves, we would probably find that we are 'disconnected' or out-of-tune with Life; we would then be in a position to tune-in again, and find ourselves once more as parts of Life, instead of apart from it.

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