It is said ‘what does not kill you makes you stronger’. Well I believe this is only true to a certain degree, and is certainly not guaranteed. I think with the right attitude, training and practice, a potentially negative situation can help to test your resolve and become good practice for maintaining awareness. The pressure of suffering can actually force you to adopt a stance against it, however with the wrong attitude and a lack of willpower it can simply make your life worse. Instead of thinking of a challenge in an unrealistic way, placing your responsibility on some external factor, instead be practical and understand that only with the right attitude and practice will you be able to overcome the obstacle. This also means that you should not try to fling yourself into negative situations, but instead just try to ‘roll with the punches’. Sometimes bad things happen in life, and you just have to do the best you can. Take your attitude to life into your own hands. A good example of this would be a story from the time of Buddha:
“Kisa Gautami was a young woman from a wealthy family who was happily married to an important merchant. When her only son was one-year-old, he fell ill and died suddenly. Kisa Gautami was struck with grief, she could not bare the death of her only child. Weeping and groaning, she took her dead baby in her arms and went from house to house begging all the people in the town for news of a way to bring her son back to life.
Of course, nobody could help her but Kisa Gautami would not give up. Finally she came across a Buddhist who advised her to go and see the Buddha himself.
When she carried the dead child to the Buddha and told Him her sad story, He listened with patience and compassion, and then said to her, “Kisa Gautami, there is only one way to solve your problem. Go and find me four or five mustard seeds from any family in which there has never been a death.”
Kisa Gautami was filled with hope, and set off straight away to find such a household. But very soon she discovered that every family she visited had experienced the death of one person or another. At last, she understood what the Buddha had wanted her to find out for herself — that suffering is a part of life, and death comes to us all. Once Kisa Guatami accepted the fact that death is inevitable, she could stop her grieving. She took the child’s body away and later returned to the Buddha to become one of His followers.”
This story focuses around a very extreme example, which is what makes it such a significant illustration. This is an example of overcoming one of the greatest obstacles of all-
the death of a loved one, and it shows a stance of no resistance. This should not be confused with a lack of sympathy or compassion however- quite the opposite. In a position of compassion,
sadness will flow all the same, but it will take its natural course, as all things are meant to do. Time heals all, and you are not meant to escape from the pain but accept it as a part of the world you live in. But to wait in a static state in life, without any pain or suffering to test you, you might not progress either. So be grateful for this opportunity too.