The World Is a Mess—It’s Time We Get Messy
There is no denying that our world is complicated. As inventions have made many things easier and the world more connected, we are realizing that, even so, life is not easy. According to the Buddha, life is suffering. The word suffering is translated from the word Dukkha which can also be interpreted to mean unsustainable, difficult to endure, imperfect and unsatisfying. It is a big word that encompasses many feelings of discomfort, and, in itself, creates uncertainty. By leaning into uncertainty, we can learn to be OK with these feelings of discomfort and find more ease and happiness in life.
I often hear the idea that we should just choose happiness. I do believe that we can bring awareness toward the things that bring us happiness and with that awareness of the feelings that those moments create, we can open ourselves up to seeing more of those moments. However, there are times when we need to sit in those challenging feelings and know that we can and that we will be OK. By ignoring or denying ourselves the chance of getting messy and sitting in discomfort, we actually close off our chance for real happiness. By closing the door on some feelings (which are just signals for our soul like hunger and thirst are signals for our basic needs), we close the door to feeling all feelings—including happiness.
Amy Poehler’s response to this week’s horrors is an example of how to find a balance between accepting the world in which we live—with constant bombardment of visual images and news coverage— and the desire to be aware of what is happening in the world with the need to find a way to lean into the uncertainty without drowning in it.
The world is a mess. It has always been so. The key to living with greater ease and more happiness is not to deny ourselves this discomfort of truth but to lean into the uncertainty and find peace in our ever changing and chaotic lives.