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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.



Everyone always told me "just be yourself." For some reason, I found it hard to do this. I recently realized that I did not know how to be myself, only because I wasn't sure of who I truly was just yet. Being in high school puts a lot of pressure on most of us, we always have to fit in with the cool kids and what not. Also being home with parents around I never found the chance to express myself truthfully. Not to mention all the silly high school rules about our appearance or the way we are supposed to act.

I have always lived in suburban areas where everyone wore the same thing and if you weren't then you couldn't be cool. As sad as it is, I think this is because people are scared in a way of those who are different. Since moving to Toronto, I have been able to explore the extremely multicultural aspect of the city, as well as the openness towards bizarre trends and types of people of the city. I also believe that going to University has allowed me to express myself better through my art and more flexibly with my personality and appearance.

At this point in my life, I am finally at peace with who I truly am. I wouldn't say that this was done over night. It definitely took me some time to adjust and understand that I do not have to be like everybody else and fit perfectly into the mould. This, I think, also applies to other issues in our society which I won't get into right now but might be addressed in a later post.

Back to my original thought; I did not accomplish this overnight. Meditation has definitely helped me in accomplishing these things. Also living in a more mindful way and seeing things from a different perspective, having my own opinions and ideas has enabled me to be more comfortable with who I am and want to be. But most importantly, I have given myself some time to just be on my own. I am much more confident and I am able to express myself through art more comfortably and meaningfully.

All of this to say, be yourself.

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