Recently when I meditated, I realized that the reason why I would be happy in any situation, why I have everything inside me to be at peace and happy, is because when I am present I am in touch with the joy that is in my heart and that joy radiates outward. It creates a forcefield around me which negativity cannot penetrate. The joy is within me and cannot be taken away from me. Only I can take it away from myself.
But the other morning when I meditated I realized a deeper truth of the heart’s embrace. It’s not just accepting that it’s the way it is or it’s the way it was, it’s owning it. It’s not just that nothing offends, it means truly embracing it.
It means making any situation, any circumstance, my own. Most importantly, the trauma of my past is my life and it contributed to making me the person I am. Yes, I have suffered a lot, but the trauma and suffering have also built character. If I feel comfortable with death, it is only because I know that I have lived a good life, I have offered others joy, I have made a difference in people’s lives. Having that empathy and understanding for others is the character that was born of my suffering.
I believe in the teaching that you have to experience darkness before you can find the light. In common vernacular, no pain no gain. If everything was sunny and rosy all the time from birth, one would build no character, you would not understand what it was to experience pain and suffering, you would not understand the beauty of joy. You would not be fully human. And until you reach the point where you have reconnected with your heart, your true Buddha self, things will continue to occur that cause you suffering and so provide you with yet another opportunity to grow and see and seize the light.
As to the future, if I am living in an urban ghetto, the dirt and noise and scary people of the ghetto around me are part of my neighborhood and I find meaning in it. If I am stranded, alone in the world, without even animal companionship or living plants, that world is my world and I take pleasure in whatever it offers.
By embracing all aspects of my being and experience … past, present, and future … there is no more “other.” I am one with my being and experience and am at peace.