Do you really know what’s positive and what’s negative? Can you really distinguish between the two?
There have been a lot of people for whom failure, illness, pain, or loss turned out to be their best teacher. It gave them patience, compassion, and humility. It taught them to accept whatever the future has in store for them. It taught them to let go of expectations and superficial desires and goals.
There’s a profound lesson concealed within anything negative that happens to you, even though you may not be aware of it at the time. Even an insignificant failure or a short illness can show you what’s positive and what’s negative in your life as well as what’s truly important and what isn’t.
You see, conditions are as they are. They aren’t positive or negative. And once you start perceiving and accepting the things that happen to you in life as they are, you’ll see that there’s no longer “good” or “bad” in your life.
But, this doesn’t mean that when something bad occurs to you or someone who’s close to you, such as a serious illness, an accident, or death, you should deny it and pretend that it’s not distressing or dreadful. What you should do is to let it be as it is. Because by letting every moment be as it is, you’ll save yourself from accumulating pain, sadness, anger, and resentment.
For example, if someone close to you has just died, you can’t deny it or be happy. Yet, you can be at peace. You’ll be sad and you’ll cry, but underneath the grief, you’ll feel a sense of inner peace, a stillness, a serenity.
Unfortunately, many people fail to realize that the majority of the so-called negative things that occur to us are actually self-created. They’re drama created by our mind.
For instance, when you feel responsible for things that aren’t your fault, that is drama. When you indulge in self-pity, that’s drama. When you let your past losses, failures, and pains obscure the present moment, that’s drama. Whenever you’re trying to ignore, resist, or deny the Now, that’s drama too.
So, the question is: How can you stop creating any more drama in your life?
The answer: Accept the present as it is. Accept every moment, every situation as it is. Accept every problem or pain life may send your way as it is. Don’t resist or deny anything. That’s how you’ll save yourself from drama.
What we all need to understand and always keep in mind is that failure, sadness, loss, and pain in whatever form are all important for our personal and spiritual growth. You must experience some profound pain or loss to become a stronger, wiser, and more resilient person. You must experience failure so as to find the road to success.
There’s always success concealed in every failure and there’s always happiness concealed in every sadness and pain. You just need to be willing enough to see it.
How can I see it? is probably the question that’s just popped into your mind. Well, all you need to do is to refrain from judging any condition, be it a relationship, a job, a possession, or even your body, as “good” or “bad.”
Because when you judge something as “good” or “bad” you identify yourself with it. You allow the “good” condition to make you feel good about yourself. You let it make you happy. And you let it become a part of who you are.
And this is wrong on so many levels. Because everything changes. The same condition that was “good” yesterday has all of a sudden become dreadful. The same condition that made you feel good about yourself, then makes you feel bad about yourself.
So, never identify yourself with what happens to you in life. Instead, learn to distinguish between your life situation and your life. There’s a huge difference between the two.
Just because you’ve recently lost your job doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It doesn’t mean you’re incompetent and useless. Or just because you just broke up with your boyfriend/girlfriend doesn’t mean you’re incapable of maintaining relationships. It doesn’t mean you’re unworthy of love.
And one last thing, remember that expecting your relationships, both romantic and otherwise, your job, or whatever to give you a sense of fulfillment and completeness and even identity is a recipe for suffering. The more you try to achieve happiness in this way, the more it’ll elude you.
Conditions and things can only give you temporary, superficial happiness. The only place where you can find permanent, genuine happiness and fulfillment is within yourself.