Turning Loss Into Depth And Wisdom
A couple of days ago, I had lunch with a woman who had been my late husband’s friend. I had seen her once before since his passing two and a half years ago.
The friend wanted to check in with me and again offer her support. We talked for a while and then the conversation shifted to her brother. She said we both had a lot in common; he’s a Buddhist – she said. Even though I don’t know her brother, I intuitively knew what she was trying to say. She was referring to the quality of acceptance.
There are many things we have no control over that happen to all of us that are hurtful and painful. In my case is the loss of my husband’s, in my husband’s case was cancer, and in a friend’s case was the loss of a leg in a sporting accident. I have chosen not to spend my life being angry at something that has already happened. My husband chose to live every minute he had until they were all gone. And my friend embraced extreme sports.
We all go through unexpected good and bad surprises almost on a daily basis, but how we handle what comes our way is a reflection of our own resilience, inner-peace, and connection with our own selves. Seeing life as a succession of experiences and allowing ourselves to be transformed by each one without applying our own brand of negativity is the secret to being a Buddhist.
We spend so much time and energy kicking and screaming about why bad things have happened to us instead of acceptance and transformation. I’m by no means advocating not having a reaction to loss and pain, but I am advocating allowing the transformation that happens to a self of more depth and wisdom when we do embrace loss with the same commitment we embrace happiness. If we don’t, at the end we have only suffering to show for.