When I was very young, I would go with my older brother during one summer to a housing development that was being built near our home. and sell lemonade. I remember our mother helping us make the beverage in our kitchen. It was very exciting for me to take part in making the drink, and to spend time with my older brother, who I looked up to and adored. Lemons to me were very beautiful. They smelled great and the color was delightful. Drinking the sweetened lemonade was like being in heaven on a hot summer day. Although I knew lemons were bitter, I had no negative associations regarding lemons until I became a teenager and owned a car. It is interesting, how society can teach us that beautiful things can have such negativity attached to them, much like the way children learn to develop prejudice. Life presents us with wonderful experiences, and also seems to have a way of challenging us. It is part of life for all of us to experience pleasure, and to experience pain and suffering. it is unavoidable. We all are just trying to be happy. I don't believe there is one person on the planet who does not want to be happy, or isn't trying to be happy. It is something we all have in common. I suspect that it is the attitude that we maintain toward suffering and disappointment that determines if we will ultimately develop some consistent sense of happiness. Most of us spend much of our time and energy avoiding unpleasant and painful feelings. I have come to believe that much of our suffering is the result of that avoidance, our desire to extinguish our own unpleasant and painful emotions. We have many tactics to help us in the avoidance. We can try to change others, change other's decisions, distract ourselves, or even deny our experience. Is it really possible that when life gives us lemons that we can make lemonade with them? Eckhart Tolle as well as other spiritual teachers like "Ram Dass", talk about, " transmuting energy". One fascinating thing about gardening is that the flowers and natural beauty we see in the garden is the result of compost and manure which is ultimately transformed into that beauty. Do we really have the potential to do this within ourselves. Thich Nhat Hnah says that without suffering we can not have happiness, just as we can not have left without the right. He says that what determines our ability to be happy is our decision to acknowledge our suffering, and relate to it in a positive manner. He goes on to say that we need to embrace our painful emotions and our suffering to be free. Without the "garbage", we can not be happy. The garbage is necessary for our happiness. This is very different from the way most of us deal with, and relate to our emotions.
What are your thoughts? I would like to hear from you.