How to ride the roller coaster?
We all have moments where everything around us is at peace, we are able to just sit, breath, be aware of ourselves and our surroundings. It might be on the meditation mat, sitting on the beach reading a book or having a drink and watching the sunset, and then with the certainty that should not surprise us, from nowhere we feel the sense of motion within us. Our reaction to this might be resistance to the motion, we were happy, contented, we had no intention of moving, we were joyfully becalmed, in the gap between the trade winds of our life. However the only certainty in life is change and the instability of any moment.
You might notice it in the discomfort of any relationship whether it is with a lover, a friend or colleague, and is most apparent when it comes after a moment of comfort and calmness. When we feel that initial moment of resistance, we have a choice to resist or to allow the movement in our lives. People change, life situations change, the world changes and even the universe continues to expand at the constant speed of light, it never has the illusion of being in a steady-state, of having completion and calmness. It is pure motion, it creates space, the stage for objects to play out their story, behind the leading edge of the universe it leaves pure energy that feeds the material world, this energy attracts together through the forces of gravity and electromagnetism, like a tidal wave collecting into ponds and flowing like rivers.
Everything in our world is the result of that initial flow of energy, the sun is just a collection of space dust and the energy that is released when vast clouds of it concentrates into just one point. Our closest star is over 4 light years away, which in relative terms makes our sun the size of less than a grain of salt compared to our planet, the sun has concentrated all the star dust in-between them to a fraction of one billionth of its original size.
When everything that surround us, that we can see or feel is the result of motion, of energy in flow. When it is so clearly the natural state of things to be in motion, and for that motion to express itself most often in changes in speed, velocity and acceleration. The idea that life is at its best when there is no change or motion seems like a recipe for an unhappy life, when it is so obviously the intention of the universe to be in constant motion. Change very much seems to be a feature not a bug of life.
The Buddha called this the four Noble truths, the first is that life is suffering or as some people translate it, instability. Second that unhappiness comes from thinking that they shouldn't be suffering or unstable, third that is possible to not suffer and the fourth was the method of how not to suffer, which was his eightfold path, which can take a lifetime to understand, though Wikipedia will describe it for you in less than 2000 words. It is perfectly possible to substitute the word suffering for so many of our problems, instability, discomfort, fear and resistance to any negative feeling.
So much of the Buddha's teaching was to remove our resistance and judgement about the flow of energy, especially when it comes in the form of our emotion or to put it another way, the motion of energy through our the body and human experience. From the position of the watcher and observer, any emotion is just the energy in motion, it is only our resistance, and judgement of that energy, that turns it into a negative or positive experience. It is the changing of the objective to the subjective, that produces suffering, we are the catalyst for suffering, we change and trap energy with our thoughts, we suffer when we hold onto energy instead of letting it continue to flow and change.
To be clear this is not an instruction to be thoughtless or emotionless, we are not robots, we are here to have a human experience, the experience of growing as beings of consciousness. The key word is being conscious, awareness of what is happening in this moment, not what happened or is going to happen, when we do that we are holding onto energy or misdirecting and concentrating it to create something that does not exist, an illusion that we are convinced is real. Just because we make something does not mean it is important, that is real except to us and letting go of these illusions is the aim of the eightfold path, if we could accept the first two Noble truths, the second two would be unnecessary.
It is when we stop fighting the roller coaster of life that we return to our natural state of flowing with the energy that runs through our experience. We feel love and fear in their most natural state without judgement, we face them with indifference, we flow with them, without resistance, we feel them fully as they happen and then we let them go or rather we just do not get in their way, we do not try and trap them or hold onto them. And the same is true for any human experience that we can encounter, by accepting love is discomfort, we do not get trapped into searching for a comfort that we can never have or suffer from that lack of comfort, instead we get something better, we get a partner with whom we can face our discomfort with, even when and perhaps because of them being the source of our discomfort.