“Of all the hardships a person had to face, none was more punishing than the simple act of waiting.” ― Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns
There is an analogy in Buddhist philosophy that the world is like a sleeping tiger and we live our lives on its back. Every now and then, the tiger wakes up, and it is terrifying. Sometimes, it wakes up because someone we love dies. Or someone breaks our heart (raising my hand to both). Or there’s a pandemic (another high hand raise). But, this is far from the first time the tiger has woken up. It has been waking up since the beginning of time and will never stop waking us up with it. But that’s the rub. We get to wake up. Night after night, we sleep on the tiger’s back, and each time, we are surprised when it awakens. If we can discard our sense of complacency during slumber, if we can stay awake and open, we can stop being afraid. We can be awake and ready for all that will come.
This has been a hard, scary month. For me, for you, especially for our elderly brethren. There is so much anxiety everywhere. It has been an arduous task, trying to make sense of it all. I have tried to spend each day reflecting upon this time, and how I’ve reacted. I hope you will too.
We’ll get through this, my friends. We will. Let’s stick this out through the end – together, with grace, dignity and an underlying sense of humanity. The only regret we will have is if we cut the parachute before we land. So, let’s land together.
I wish you all the best during these unexpected and stressful times. Someday soon, things will be back to a sense of normalcy. And we will fall back asleep on the tiger. But, I hope in your dreams, you will remember what it was like to be awake, and be open to staying awake. Knowing that impermanence is our steady state will alleviate so much anxiety and suffering. And you will no longer need to wait. You will be awake and alive. I believe this and I hope it for each one of you. I look forward to seeing you all again. And even, in time, with sufficient PPE, holding your hand as we land back on the ground together. *Photo captured from a picture framed on my desk. May you remain brave.