About 2,500 years ago in present-day Nepal there lived a king who was going to have a son. He idealized his child to have the perfect life and thus built high walls to prevent the prince from knowing about the suffering that existed outside.
After living in opulent luxury for a while, the prince felt empty inside and he snuck out one night to the local village. There he saw sick people, old people, homeless, and even those on the verge of death. He blamed his father for hiding all this and left to live on the street, surviving only on the scraps of food from strangers. He suffered greatly through disease, hunger, pain, loneliness and despair.
A few years later he came to realize that there was equally no meaning even with a life of suffering when it’s done without purpose. As the legend goes, he went on to sit under a tree for forty-nine days before having a number of epiphanies.
One of those realizations was that life itself is suffering. The rich suffer because of their riches, the poor, because of their poverty. People suffer when they have no family, when they do have a family; they suffer from engaging in relentless hedonism and abstaining from pleasure all the same.
Years later this prince became known as Buddha, and it’s an important reminder that happiness is not something that can be obtained by achieving a goal like graduating college or becoming “successful” by any definition of the word. Happiness is a choice and I’ve found that two of the best tools for helping myself get out of a slump is are practicing gratitude
and helping others
There’s a saying I’ve committed to memory over the past week that I think is a good one for all of us to have in our toolbox…
Life never gets easier, but we can always choose to get stronger.
🍺 to a great week ahead!