“Even when life brings one lemons, I’ve found the most helpful attitude is to be curious about the experience. Below are various bits and pieces to help inspire the process of doing that in your life.
Curiosity about ourselves and our inner lives is really what personal growth is about. And anyone regardless of whether they’re religious or secular can grow in this manner. It’s often called spirituality, but one need not attach oneself to that word to utilize the practices.” ~ Quoted from Beyond Meds
The American Buddhist nun Pema Chodron suggests what this might be like in her book, The Wisdom of No Escape: And the Path of Loving-Kindness
There’s a common misunderstanding among all the human beings who have ever been born on the earth that the best way to live is to try to avoid pain and just try to get comfortable. You can see this even in insects and animals and birds. All of us are the same.
A much more interesting, kind, adventurous, and joyful approach to life is to begin to develop our curiosity, not caring whether the object of our inquisitiveness is bitter or sweet. To lead a life that goes beyond pettiness and prejudice and always wanting to make sure that everything turns out on our own terms, to lead a more passionate, full, and delightful life than that, we must realize that we can endure a lot of pain and pleasure for the sake of finding out who we are and what this world is, how we tick and how our world ticks, how the whole thing just is. If we’re committed to comfort at any cost, as soon as we come up against the least edge of pain, we’re going to run; we’ll never know what’s beyond that particular barrier or fearful thing.”1
What she’s alluding to here is a kind of contentment and confidence that comes from a deeper place than simple ego-driven pursuit of pleasure or avoidance of discomfort. Rather than being at the mercy of our feelings, we learn to stay and hold our ground from a different place of knowing. We’re able to stand firm no matter what’s going on, whatever storms blow us around. We make our choices from a fuller awareness of who we are rather than what feels good. And because we’re acting with a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us, we can choose to flow in harmony with the world as it is, rather than fighting our way through it.
~ also Quoted from Beyond Meds
Being a practicing Nichiren Buddhist (Japanese origin rather than the Tibetan that most think of) has helped me immensely. As the quote states, we fight not against the grain of the problem but from a much deeper place within our selves that most of us do not even know exists. I do not know what to call it, specifically, but it runs deeper than the soul, the ego, the Id, the Superego. It is a place of joy and strength that is like an underground river that can be called upon when needed to weather a storm. And, in my rather humble and new-ish opinion, it is this river that allows us to face the onslaught of life with the grace and dignity that comes from the joy of knowing you will get through it, the outcome may not be what you want, but it will be what you need, and you will come out the other side of the tunnel even more more joyful, strong, and at peace because you know you can.
My Buddhist sect does not really meditate. We chant the Law of Cause and Effect that rules the Universe. You cannot make a cause (or action) that will not have an effect. I have found on occasion that I start to “trance out” while I am chanting, and it is like a meditation with a very specific goal in mind. You chant and live like you already have resolved the problem, or achieved the result you desired. Call it what you will: religion, spirituality, life philosophy, the key is to find what works for you. What brings you joy in the face of catastrophe, what well do you tap to weather that storm, fighting not against it but with it like the flow of water. Nichiren said (I am paraphrasing here) that a practitioner should become like a fish in water, not separable from its environment. And ours is huge.