We’re Tough Survivors

Ajahn Sumedho

We’re Tough Survivors

We don’t have all that much control, do we? Much as we would like to be able to control our lives, we recognise we really don’t have that much control. Some things just get out of our control. Things happen and Mother Nature has her ways of letting us know that she’s not just going to follow our desires. Then fashions and revolutions, and changing conditions, and population problems, and airplanes, televisions, technology, pollution - how can we control it and make it so that we are not being affected by any of it, or only affected in the ways we like?

If we spend our lives trying to control everything, then we just increase the suffering. Even if we should get a measure of control over things, get what we want, we’re still going to be like me with the person gulping in the meditation hall; getting very angry when the neighbour turns on the radio too loud or the airplane flies low or the fire engine goes by.

Now one thing to recognise: when you have a body you have to live with it for a lifetime. And these bodies are conscious and sensitive forms. This is just the way it is, what being born means. Bodies: they grow up, then they start getting old. And then there’s old age, and then sicknesses, disease – this is a part of our human experience. And then death.

We have to accept the death and separation of loved ones. This happens to all of us. Most of us will see our parents die, or even our children, or spouse or friends, loved ones. Part of all human experience is the experience of being separated from the loved.

By knowing the way it is, then you find yourself quite capable of accepting life and not being depressed and bewildered by the way a life happens to be. Once you understand it and you see it in the right way, then you’re not going to create any wrong views about it. You’re not going to add to it with fears, and desires, and bitterness, and resentments and blame. We have the ability to accept the way life happens to us as individual beings. Even though we’re terribly sensitive, we’re also tough survivors in this universe.

This reflection by Luang Por Sumedho is from the book, The Way It Is, (pdf) pp.67-68.