“If you want to strengthen your faith, you will need to soften inside. For your faith to be rock solid, your heart needs to be as soft as a feather. Through an illness, accident, loss or fright, one way or another, we are all faced with incidents that teach us how to become less selfish and judgmental and more compassionate and generous. Yet some of us learn the lesson and manage to become milder, while some others end up becoming even harsher than before…”
"It is life that has made me the way I am." Something you will hear often, kind of a mantra for the bitter I suppose. I know I've said it often enough! Life throws curveballs at you. Some of them are practically molotov cocktails aimed at your head. Survival is hard, and you have to be strong to do it, I firmly believe that.
But does "strong" actually mean what we think it means? My head would say, close yourself off to this pain, don't ever allow it to happen again, people are scum, etc. etc. In my heart I would know that's not true, though. My cynic and my romantic sides are always conversing with each other, the dichotomy is something I accept and embrace, since both are necessary.
There are tragedies beyond comprehension, and it's hard to say at that point that anything is meant to be. I have seen people in such circumstances, and many of them are still the most loving and positive people you will meet. It makes you marvel at their strength, but I still wish they never had to go through such trials.
It is often the petty trials that bring out our ugliest side, and that's where I feel this rule packs a punch. Don't fall into the traps, try to empathise. I read somewhere that we should never take anything personally, because whatever wrong someone does to you is about them, their own issues and insecurities. A few years ago, a friend of ours and her 5-year old son were held at gunpoint in her car outside a bakery. The gunman pointed the gun at her child's head and said, "Say you forgive me for stealing your car". She complied, the car was stolen, but both were safe. When I told this story to another friend as a caution to be vigilant in that area, he said, "Wow, that's someone who's having a really bad day". He meant the assailant. I would have never considered thinking about the kind of day the assailant was having, quite frankly. On the one hand, I felt like saying, "What?? Are you kidding me?", but on the other hand, I admired his compassion. I still feel the same.
At the end of every yoga class, our teacher leads us in a wish at the end of meditation: "May all be free from disease and disability, may all look to the good of one another, may all be happy, and may none suffer from sorrow". It is a wish for all mankind, and it's one of my favorite things about class. After nap time, of course.