We often believe that our circumstances are responsible for whether or not we are happy, joyous, and content. When I’m feeling out-of-sorts, think of a dear friend Audrey (not her real name) who lost her mother, her husband, and her father within two months. After this occurred, I would see Audrey or speak to her on the phone and she was always the same chipper, effervescent person she had always been.
That is not to say she didn’t experience sadness, loss, and suffering, but clearly, she has mastered handling her suffering. The Buddha taught that we must leave to suffer well, so we suffer less and thereby cause less suffering for others. All this to say, even though it’s not the easiest thing to do, we can control how we feel and how we meet life’s challenges. It’s always how we respond to what’s happening that matters most. We have the power to control our thoughts and harness our joy!
The hospital where Audrey’s husband died, suggested that she join a support group at the hospital, which she did. Audrey also sought out a grief support group that was comprised of women of African descent. In both of these groups, she was able to glean many things of value that helped her with the cross she had to bear.