Accepting Good and Bad, Life and Death – 29 Dec 08


One of my friends told me about an incident which reflects the common attitude of modern society. One day he met his neighbour who did not look happy on that day. He asked if everything was fine and she said with a very cold voice: “My mother died yesterday.” He felt sorry for her and expressed his condolence but when he came close to her to give her a hug she stopped him and avoided the hug. She said “Please don’t hug me, otherwise I will start crying.” This shocked him and he saw her fighting with her emotions and feelings trying to appear normal. She tried not to show her emotions. He was surprised as he just wanted to show his sympathy.

He told me this and I feel that you see in the unnatural reaction of this woman and of so many other people that they do not want to accept death, the biggest truth. I have written before that the subject of death is like a taboo here. Why can’t we be natural and allow ourselves to be sad when the occasion of sadness is there. Why don’t we let our tears flow? Maybe they grew up in a way in which crying and tears are signs of weakness and they want to be strong. But they are weak if they do not want to face the truth. It is running away from the facts.

In this world there are always two sides: night and day, happiness and sadness, light and dark, hot and cold. We should accept this. That is the right way. Otherwise it will create mental sickness because there is no balance.

It has a deep psychological effect if we do not live naturally which can create psychological problems which are nowadays very usual in modern society. Live in your originality and accept who you are.

3 Replies to “Accepting Good and Bad, Life and Death – 29 Dec 08”

  1. I have sometimes found that people see an ugliness in the sad. The unattractiveness make others want to distance themselves. Sadness is hard to let yourself experience and to have others witness so we fight against it. Letting it happen lets it pass. It is important for all things to be able to pass.

  2. Do you know that you are not your feelings? They are just passing through; these delightful forms. Just like your body is just passing through.

  3. Very true, Swami. We always must honor our emotions and hold them in our hearts. They are present for a reason and we can learn from them. Whether sadness, anger, or pain, Thich Naht Han had a beautiful suggestion on the topic. He says to hold your pain in your heart like a beautiful flower. Admire it and give it love. Eventually that pain with start to dissolve into feelings of peace as you hold the beautiful flower and are grateful for its presence.