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Give Me Strife and Suffering (but in manageable doses)

"Life is suffering," said Buddha. His plan? Release your attachments to this world and end your suffering.

I'm not with Buddha on this one. Give me strife and suffering. And once I have grown stronger, tempered, hardened by the strife, give me MORE.

Life is strife, suffering, struggle. Your body and mind are kept alive by a series of violent chemical reactions, your heartbeat, the acid in your stomach, the cells constantly breaking apart and dying as new ones are created, the battle towards homeostatis with different bacteria and cells combating each other, all inside your body.

Your mind - your thoughts - may come into conflict, especially when you're trying to do meaningful things. It's easy to feel the pull of distraction and ease, and to choke up and pause in fear when you look at the mountain you're set to climb. The mind is not in harmony, especially at the beginning. Struggle, strife, conflict, suffering.

I say - give it to me! But not so fast that it will break me. I must be pragmatic. We must be pragmatic. We have our limits. We can expand them over time. It's not brave to go into the gym for the first time and try to lift 400 pounds. It's foolhardy, unrealistic, stupid. Being pragmatic, aware of our limits takes its own sort of courage.

Captain Crunch

On Stuff in a Notebook

It's been a busy day. At ten o'clock in the evening I was eating a box of Captain Crunch while studying in one of the university buildings. Now it's one in the morning, I'm still eating Captain Crunch, and I'm in the lobby of my dormitory pretending to study. Part of me wants to go upstairs and go to sleep, but I'm usually up until around two or three on the weeknights. My classes don't start until eleven (intentionally scheduled), so it's not much of a problem if I'm up late. My roommate is up late too.

So since I've decided to stay up, I'm sitting here, in a little nook, eating my Captain Crunch and reflecting on my life recently. Honestly, I've been kind of a jerk lately. I've been snappy and I've become frustrated or irritated very quickly. Maybe it's because I've realized that the semester is halfway over, that I'm in the final days, and that in a few weeks I'll be heading home, wrapping up my freshman year of college. Maybe it's because right now, my classes aren't going the way I want them to, and I feel stressed. Maybe it's the anticipation of summer. Maybe it's because I've spent a year living and studying with the same group of people. Maybe I'm a little homesick. Maybe I'm not getting enough sleep. Maybe it's something else.

I can't really figure it out. But I need to change it. It's not fair for me to act this way towards the people around me, who have done nothing wrong. So when I finish this box of Captain Crunch, I'm going to give the rest of the semester a chance. I'm going to have a fresh start. I'm going to be aware that this is something within me, not the people around me, and I am going remember that when I am talking with these people.

Signing off,

L.M. & Captain Crunch

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