Appreciating Struggle

Appreciating struggle can sound a lot like what you would find in a fortune cookie: Thought provoking but ultimately useless.

But my understanding of Buddhism as I practice it does emphasize an appreciation for the current moment and the current situation as it is. For example, if you move to a new city and find that you’re hating everything about it (I’ve been there), the most direct solution is to see the new city as the best place for you to develop yourself.

I’m not saying that Buddhist practice is like a self-induced Jedi mind-trick of “I will appreciate the struggle”. It’s a life philosophy that puts the impetus on you to create value in the current moment. Struggle presents an opportunity to strengthen your practice and break through in a way that you formerly could not imagine.

Case in point – I was reading an experience from an SGI member in Australia, Elwyn Lan. The short version is that a young man appears to be an everyday university student but he’s got deep gambling issues that reverberate in every other arena of his life. Through chanting and taking action, Elwyn overcomes the addiction and shares the experience with others. He writes:

However, when I look back on my experience I think of how much I actually appreciate going through this struggle. Not only has it allowed me to experience growth in life, it has given me an experience that I can share and encourage people with. Which is why I can now think of struggle as fortune. I see it as part of life and as an opportunity to grow that can inspire others.

How encouraging! How wonderful!

Respectfully,

Buddhist Next Door

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