I keep a personal journal (that my sister made me) and along with documenting my random musings, I also collect quotes in it. I also randomly flip back through my journal to see where my mind has been. A few days ago, I was doing just that – opening random pages of my journal and reading my thought-history.
I came across this quote the day after I wrote a post about our attachment to impermanence as a source of suffering or discontent.
“Nothing in this world is good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” – William Shakespeare
I’ve always believed that the universe sends us little messages and I can’t help but think this is just that. A little message from the universe saying ‘good on ya Erin.’
I also can’t help but think how beautifully Shakespeare speaks to our potential ability to manage our attachment. Oh, and how easy he makes it sound.
But here is the thing, there are times when it is easy, and times when it’s really (maybe really really) hard. We can all look back on times when we’ve managed well. We’re all more competent than we give ourselves credit for. But then there are times when managing our attachment to the impermanent nature or life has been a significant challenge.
We all go through these phases. Highs and lows. Ups and downs. Good times and bad times. There are seasons in nature and seasons in life.
But here is the thing that I’ve been thinking about. The highs shouldn’t be too high and lows shouldn’t be too low. The pendulum shouldn’t swing too far to one side only, nor should it swing too far on either side.
One of the laws of physics says that for every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction. One way to look at this is that higher the high, the farther you have to fall. I realize that is a pessimistic view, but it’s also illustrates an important perspective – we need to be able to weather the good and the bad without sacrificing the balance of our body, mind and soul. And to do this, we can’t go too high and we can’t go too low on the pendulum. And managing our attachment to life’s impermanency is what manages the swing of the pendulum.
We need to pause before we get too high and before we get too low. And this is what meditation is. We practice and observe what it is to pause when we are sitting in meditation. We spend time in this pause. We give our mind, body and soul some time in this pause. This pause creates space between our true selves and the good or the bad. Here we can rationalize, process and manage.
When things go from looking like this:
To looking like this:
We know we are managing our attachment to impermanence. This management is one of meditation’s gifts.
Meditate & be well.