Forbearance & Letting Go

As I sit in my room and listen to the incessant clanging and banging of metal on metal from my neighborhood’s early morning construction, I can’t help but reflect on the myriad challenges our new quarantined lives have brought. For the most part, we’ve been confined to the walls of our homes with our roommates or family members, and no matter how much we may love someone, it takes true Bodhisattva compassion to not lose our tempers on occasion. And I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes we need the catharsis of a heated argument or fight, but the moment we allow these negative feelings to grow and consume us we make ourselves vulnerable to more suffering. Śāntideva states it best in The Perfection of Forbearance: “One’s mind finds no peace, neither enjoys pleasure or delight, nor goes to sleep, nor feels secure while the dart of hatred is stuck in the heart” (6.3). While I have been angry at the construction workers for waking me up at 8 AM four times a week for the past three weeks, I’ve learned to tolerate the noise and suppress my annoyance because ultimately I have no power over their work, so why fret? “If there is a solution, then what is the point of dejection? What is the point of dejection if there is no solution” (6.10)? By reconciling with this and letting go of these annoyances, I’ve found this quarantine a lot more tolerable (but I’m still praying it ends sooner than later).

One thought on “Forbearance & Letting Go”

  1. Being at home has shown me the amount of noise pollution there is in our neighborhood. With the spring pollen, there is a constant cacophony of leaf blowers which I had never been aware of before now. Most interesting is my reactivity and how it “takes me out” when I am trying to concentrate. Indeed, this section has been instructive and useful in cultivating patience!

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