Hard Times

So now that our final project is under way….are these posts still required?

Either way… I guess they’re good for venting. I feel like everyone is so concerned about the next steps that they won’t listen to what’s going on inside our minds, with our emotions. I feel like I just need to talk. The only people who have been willing to listen were lawyers and an admissions advisor from a different school. I don’t even know this person yet I feel like we connected just over the phone. He’s the only one whose given me any sort of advice for this whole situation.

Dear universe…..is there anybody out there?

It’s difficult to stay positive during this. I’m trying to keep my energy clear and trying to listen to my heart. But as soon as I walk onto campus the negative energy zaps me. I am so exhausted. I have final projects that I can’t even stay focused on. I fell asleep in one of my classes today. My brain doesn’t feel like it’s connected to my body anymore. I’m just trying my hardest to be patient. Even though it feels like everyone is pushing and rushing us to make a choice.

I’m starting to think that the universe is telling me to be patient. I read a chapter in the Dalai Lama’s book, Beyond Religion, about patience. Here is an excerpt from the book that resonated with me:

“How, though, are we to deal with the ordinary setbacks of life? Again, I find the advice of Shantideva, the eighth-century Indian thinker, especially helpful.

If there is a solution,
Then what need is there for dejection?
If there is no solution,
Then what point is there in dejection?’

I call this the ‘no need, no point’ approach to dealing with problems. If a problem has a solution, then it should not be a cause for excessive worry. Rather than feeling overwhelmed, we should simply work with determination to reach the solution” (140 –141)
The Dalai Lama goes on to say how this is not the same as surrendering to suffering but that we should accept it. Accepting it is the first step towards combating harm. If the situation can be accepted then it becomes easier to move forward. I think that a lot of the students here have not accepted the situation going on and are becoming angry, frustrated, and depressed over it. Their excessive worrying is damaging them, I know because it is damaging me as well.
“By accepting hardship, we begin to see that it is not entirely negative. It can, for example, be a powerful force in bringing us together with others by enlivening our empathetic, compassionate natures. Above all, suffering helps us recognize our kinship with one another. And with this recognition, we are no longer overwhelmed by our own difficulties, but gain the strength we need to meet the challenges we face” (141).

The same day that I read this chapter, I was listening to the radio in the car and this station does a weekly “fortune cookie” message and this week’s is: be patient.
I was in shock when I heard that and then I laughed. We have to trust that we are being “held” by the universe, and that it does have a plan for us. So right now, I am doing my best to trust the universe and what it has in store for me. I will ask for guidance and the strength to go on.

I will end this post with the Dalai Lama’s ending paragraph of the chapter on patience:

“The benefits of cultivating patience are obvious. The practice of patience guards us against loss of composure and, in doing so, enables us to exercise discernment, even in the heat of difficult situations. It gives us inner space. And within that space we gain a degree of self-control, which allows us to choose to respond to situations in an appropriate and compassionate manner rather than being driven by our compulsions. With constant cultivation, patience as I have described it equips us to deal with life’s inevitable ups and downs … Above all, patience is a powerful antidote to the destructive emotions of anger and frustration” (142 – 143).

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