When we get what we DON’T want, when we DON’T get what we want, when we become ill, when we’re getting old, when we’re dying- when we see any of these things in our lives- we can recognize suffering as suffering. Then we can be curious, we can notice, and be mindful of our reactions. Our suffering is so grounded in our fear of impermanence. Our pain is so rooted in our lopsided view of reality. Who ever got the idea that we could have pleasure without pain? It’s promoted rather widely in this world, and we buy it. But pain and pleasure go together; they are inseparable. They can be celebrated. They are ordinary. Birth is painful and delightful. Death is painful and delightful. Everything that ends is also the beginning of something else. Pain is not a punishment; pleasure is not a reward.
Adapted from “Comfortable with Uncertainty” by Pema Chodron