You might have come across the story of Kisa Gautami whose only son fell ill and died suddenly. She requested Lord Buddha, weeping and moaning, to give her son’s life back. Lord Buddha asked her to bring a fist full of grains from a family who has not lost anyone to death. With a lot of hope in her heart, she went from house to house, requesting them to give a fist of grains – if they had no death in the family. Everyone wanted to help her to get her son back, but they had lost someone at some point in time. Kisa realised in the process that no one is immortal, everyone has to die in due course.
This story is true for pain and suffering as well. There cannot be anyone who has not suffered any pain in life. It is impossible to find a person who has not gone through any moment of grief. But how does one react to a situation which is difficult to handle? Does he accept it boldly or succumbs to depression and disappointment? There are some people who keep a smile on their face even during the worst of circumstances, while others keep talking of their difficulties. Some people consider their problems to be the worst in the world and they deserve the best of the attention. They put themselves in the most pitiable situation. These kinds of people do not look for a solution, but solace. They are happier not by resolving the problem but by informing others of their problem. They are least bothered about answers, but what concerns them is recognition of their situation by others. In this way, they are actually adding more struggle to their life, multiplying the problem and making life even more strenuous.
On the other hand, there are people who do not like sympathy for their misfortune. They like to deal with them boldly for whatever the best outcome might be. This attitude looks for possible resolution and a way out of the existing situation. It is not easy to accept the problem and believe in one’s capability to fight against it. Whoever can do so is a bold person.
While we all go through difficult circumstances and face hard situations in life, how we deal with them is an individual choice. No one can have a life insulated from worldly sufferings, but everyone can prepare themselves to face the situations in mature ways. Marcus Aurelius wrote that a wise man accepts his pain, endures it but does not add to it. It is the greatest learning of life if we stop adding to the pain we are already going through. Accepting the situation and enduring it in a dignified way is the best thing a wise man can do.