“Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing. We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall back apart. Then they come back together and then fall back apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen; room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.” – Pema Chödrön from When Things Fall Apart, p. 10
We, as human beings, share some very similar character traits. Most of us have many wants and very little tolerance for situations which are contrary to our wishes. We all find life pretty easy when it is flowing in a manner consistent with our wants and needs.
The challenge, of course, is that all of life ebbs and flows. All of life moves according to some type of cycle. We typically have a full moon, only once a month. The other 27 days of the cycle, the moon appears to either become darker or lighter with one day of apparent darkness called the new moon.
The point is all of life is always moving like the phases of the moon. Nothing stands still, even things which change so slowly that our senses insist there are no changes at all.
How we deal with life’s changes determine the level of peace we experience. We can choose to enjoy the “good” times and resist the “bad” times or we can do as Pema suggests and make room for all of life’s appearances:
“When we think that something is going to bring us pleasure, we don’t know what is really going to happen. When we think something is going to bring us misery, we don’t know. Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all.” – Ibid
When we value peace over pleasure, we choose to live a life that includes plenty of room (tolerance) for all that comes. When we make room, everything that shows up has the potential to bear gifts; blessings that we easily overlook when we narrowly define what constitutes a life worth living.