How do you manage to stay sane and happy in a constant ugly situation?
The secret to staying sane and happy in ugly situations is to not be stuck inside your negative thoughts.
A metaphor: If we have a whiteboard, we can draw beautiful things on it. We can also draw something ugly on it. For the whiteboard, it doesn’t matter whether we draw beautiful things or ugly things. The whiteboard has no concept of beauty or ugliness; in other words, it doesn’t have a mind that clings to this or that. Instead, the whiteboard remains unaffected and at peace no matter what is drawn on it.
People, on the other hand, hold frames of good vs bad and attribute meaning to such concepts. We try to seek the good and avoid the bad. When we deem something as beautiful or desirable, we like it and strive to get it. When we deem something as ugly or undesirable, we detest it and try to avoid it (resistance).
However hard we try, there will always happen things that go against our ideas of good vs bad. That’s just how life is. The world will never fit our mind. If we continue to let our frames dictate how we should feel about every situation, we will be constantly tossed around. That is a natural consequence of such a mindset. In the long run, it will make us go insane, particularly in situations where a lot of (perceivably) bad things happen.
Consequently, the culprit here is not the world, or what happens in the world, but ourselves. A person in disbelief might say that there is not much to do about this, because it is human nature to judge the world according to standards.
While it may be correct that everyone has standards, it always helps to look at things realistically, and see what can actually be done to improve the situation. Logically, we can conclude that, from on objective standpoint, there is no good or bad. Good and bad only exist as concepts in our minds. Hence, if we were to break the frame of these concepts (break our mind), we would be liberated and able to stay sane in any situation. Now we questions arises, is this possible and if so how?
Luckily, there is a way. It takes time and patience, but it can be done. It’s spelled meditation. By meditating, we empty the mind of thoughts, concepts, accumulated conditioning and suffering. By removing this clutter, we gradually return to our original mind which is free of thoughts, and concepts.
From the empty mind, intuition, wisdom, and action unite in what we can call nature’s flow. Hence, instead of following our concepts and thoughts, we follow nature’s flow. In this flow, there are no hang-ups or suffering, so we can easily adapt and live even in situation that are challenging to us. Our mind becomes flexible and all-encompassing and hardships cease to exist.
This is not only theory. After meditating for almost 10 years, I’ve found that this is indeed true and real. In this day and age there are so many people waking up to this fact. It is only a matter of time until the old ways of looking at and dealing with things, i.e. with a mind full of attachments, grief, and pain, will not make sense anymore.
Despite all the craziness going on in the world, this is a fantastic time to be alive. Please check out meditation. Devote yourself to it with effort and sincerity, and I dare promise you that it will be tremendously helpful.