I'll admit, this person tends to be a bit of a pessimist, but she had a point. People all around us were struggling with wayward teens, cancer scares, job loss, car accidents, death of a loved one and these all seemed to happen in the last few months. Things haven't exactly been peachy keen for me either lately, but I am a stubborn optimist, so I tried to keep the tone light.
"Yeah, there seems to be a lot of bad stuff happening lately, but you know, we also have a lot to be thankful for." She agreed.
This morning I was listening to an audio lecture on Buddhism and learned the 4 Noble Truths of the Buddha:
1. Life means suffering.
2. The origin of suffering is attachment.
3. The cessation of suffering is attainable.
4. There is a path to the cessation of suffering.
So basically, as I heard it, Buddha says:
- Life sucks.
- The origin of suffering is that we cling to things that are not permanent which makes life suck.
- Luckily, this clingy stuff that makes life suck can be stopped.
- Finally, the path to not being such a sucky cling-on and ruining your life is simple. So simple in fact there are only EIGHT MORE steps to go. These steps are all about self-improvement. Best wishes!
I found this so depressing I almost became a pessimist, but my name is Hope so that would be ridiculous, not to mention I am only one class into a session of four on Buddhism so I certainly don't know that much about it yet and maybe it gets better. For now, please pardon my sarcastic ignorance, but that is how the noble truths sounded to me.
After the class, in an attempt to cheer myself up, I turned on a podcast from one of my favorite pastors - Pastor Tim Keller from Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. The sermon was entitled "Peace" and wouldn't you know it, it was all about how we can NOT get over the suckiness of life on our own simply by improving ourselves or changing the way we think? We can't find peace as long as we are here, but we can HAVE peace while we are here if we look to the Author of Our Salvation---Jesus Christ. He is WITH us during the sucky times. He has saved us from death, which is really the ultimate suckiness that we are all afraid of and trying to avoid. (Buddha is right when he says that we cling to what was never meant to last and that is what causes life to suck. Where he goes wrong is when he tells us that we can "buck up" on our own simply by controlling our thoughts, but then again, I can't sit in the lotus pose, so maybe that is my problem.)
The good news is that we don't go it alone.
This world is NOT all there is. We don't need to cling to it. We have been given so much more. We have been delivered from death by the One who conquered death and we can cling to Him during the tough times.
True, we are all going to die, but we do not need to fear death because we are saved by the One who died for all. We will leave this sucky world and be reunited with Him in the perfect, restored, blissful and care-free world we were meant to be in. What a gift!
Check out the "Salvation Scriptures" podcast at the top of my blog and listen to twelve minutes of Scripture readings from the Bible about this incredible gift and see if it doesn't lift your spirit a little.
If podcast does not show up or work correctly on my blog, you can go to itunes and search for the "Realistic Mystic" podcast or click here Salvation Scriptures Podcast
-Hope A. Horner, 2013
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