The Capacity for Suffering

How much can the human soul take before it succumbs to the tragedies that surround us day in and day out? This is a question I’ve been especially pondering as of late. Family tragedies and near-tragedies can take their toll on even me, although I’m sure that my responses are muted compared to whatever “normal” is. Miracles and destiny, choices and fate … nothing makes sense except for one thing: someday we all will die. The in-between, the space between now and then, is what interests us all and is full of infinite pleasure and infinite pain – sometimes simultaneously. As I continue to age and explore change through meditation and practice, I find that tragedies that would have left me unaffected twenty years ago are now grating on me and wearing me down. Having finally understood the love that some have shown me, I suppose this is the natural progression of things; I don’t think I would trade this pain for anything after all.

Through an improbable series of events, a family member survived in the face of certain death. In the calm that followed, tragedy would try to strike out again from the void. Just what is the capacity of anyone’s spirit when it comes to these things? How can we stare at the infinite nothingness of time and space and not go mad? Eventually, everyone and everything we’ve ever loved, ever met, and ever hated will cease to exist in this realm. That is the cosmic truth in answer to all questions. No one knows what lies beyond this life, and I suppose the answer to that is irrelevant, for we are left with the suffering that this life brings regardless. Even a muted response to all of this is … unpleasant. But, this pain reminds me that I am alive and to cherish the moment. After all, joy cannot be appreciated with out its dark sister: suffering.