“I know now that, over the years, my own cries that life is unfair have come from the inescapable pain of living, and these cries, while understandable, have always diverted me from feeling my way through the pain of my breakage into re-formation of my life. Somehow, crying, “Unfair” has always kept me stuck in what hurts.”
Mark Nepo (The Book of Awakening)
We all want our life to be happy. Humans, at least most of us, are attracted to contentment, and repelled by pain. Unfortunately, life itself is filled with unfair experiences. We fall in love with people who don't love us, we are betrayed by the ones we love the most, we are born into families who don't love us enough, or in the right way, our bodies betray us with ailments and diseases, we have children with addictions, we have children maimed by war or accident. This list could go on and on, because all manner of bad experiences befall us over the course of a lifetime. Sometimes, we latch on to our wounds—I'm an adult child of an alcoholic, or I'm a war widow, or I am the mother of a child with handicaps. That wound becomes our identity. Life is unfair because I have this terrible pain that others don't.
The effect, all too often, is to numb us to the joy that life does hold. We tend to mute the big joys, like a new-born baby, or the years of marriage that are happy. Mostly, we miss altogether the little joys, like a beautiful sunrise, a great meal, a conversation with a friend. They blur to insignificance if we are focused on the unfairness of life and our unfortunate wounds. We cause ourselves to live in pain all the time, regardless of the joys that surround us.
Accepting that life is sometimes unfair for us, and for everyone else in different ways, is how we enable ourselves to enjoy the small stuff, and let go of the wounds. We are not made happier by dredging up life's misfortunes over and over, in order to keep our wounded identity. We are made happier by appreciating the moments of joy wherever and whenever we find them. Feeling the pain, and allowing it to flow through, is how we get to contentment.
In the Spirit,