We each have our measure of joy and of suffering, which the Buddha referred to as the Eight Worldly Winds: gain and loss, pleasure and pain, praise and blame, fame and disrepute. I suspect he named them meteorologically because, like these worldly winds, we are subject to the weather but cannot control it. Gentle breezes to gale force winds all unpredictably blow through our lives.
Do you resist the gale winds of loss, pain, blame and disrepute, hoping that you will only have to deal with the cool breezes of gain, pleasure, praise and fame? Our response to difficulty can be denial, fear, confusion, aggression, anger or greed, believing that these will be our protection. We can try to escape, busy ourselves, hoping that we won’t be affected by them. The degree of our willingness to let go of the idea that the difficult winds are our fault, or are blameworthy, is the degree to which there can be joy and peace in our lives. Our ability to graciously accede to these elements of our experience as human beings is ennobling and leads to letting go and freedom.
Our practice trains us to lean into the rough weather, rather than trying to outrun or deny it, of course donning whatever protection is wise. We respect and bow to the losses and disappointments, facing our fears. We allow ourselves to be held in our capacity for presence, with wisdom and compassion in handling the arising difficulties. Every time you are willing to turn towards difficulty, boredom and pain in your meditation practice, you strengthen the muscle to handle every wind that blows through. Happy sailing!