Category Archives: Three Truths and One Wish

Three Truths and One Wish

1. Truth: Real change takes time and effort. Pictures showed up in my Facebook memories from our garden eight years ago, as we were just starting, putting in the front burm and three raised beds, starting to plant. I went out this morning and took pictures of those same spots, to document the progress. Seeing the pictures side by side made me realize, again, that things take the time they take, and that is sometimes a very long time. It can go so slow it seems like you aren’t making any progress, but if you keep moving forward, even if it’s just baby steps, even if you take breaks to rest, even if you get lost for a bit, if you don’t give up you will eventually get somewhere. It might be different than what you planned or expected, but it might be even better.

2. Truth: Life is suffering. It’s uncomfortable and difficult, change is constant and impermanence is the outcome. Things won’t go how you planned and you won’t get what you want. You will get sick, injured, and eventually die, as will everyone you’ve ever known or loved. The foundation of Buddhism is four noble truths, the first of which is exactly this: life is suffering. Yoga offers a similar understanding: “One of yoga’s central teachings is that everything changes. This material world of prakṛti is impermanent and always changing (pariṇāmavāda) and we suffer when we remain attached to the way things were,” (Dr. Jarvis Chen). Most of us can consider our own experience as the proof: this is hard.

3. Truth: Cultivating the ability to stay with it is a worthy effort. To stay with it, keep at it, not give up, even when it gets hard. I was thinking about this in the context of racism this morning. As I work to be anti-racist, there was a time when I thought there would be an end to the internal personal process, that I would eventually root out all the racism in me, that I would reach the bottom of it, the end. Now I realize that as a white person during this moment in history in this culture, I will probably always be racist on some level. It’s like the bindweed in my garden — I continue to pull it out, day after day, season after season, but I most likely will never be entirely rid of it. It’s just too prolific and hardy. And yet, I will keep trying. My hope is the same with anti-racism, that if I continue to put in the effort, I will see more clearly, my actions will continue to be more skillful and effective, and I will cause less suffering, do less damage.

One wish: May we cultivate our ability to stay, to make the effort for as long as it takes even if it takes forever and even when it’s hard, doing as Andrew Boyd said, growing “strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors.”

Three Truths and One Wish

1. Truth: Nothing has changed; everything is different. Routines from before that persist: cleaning up dog poop, laundry, paying bills, meditating, writing, blogging, napping, a big lunch, watching tv at night with Eric, walking dogs, putting clean sheets on the bed, reading in bed at night while Eric and the dogs sleep. New routines: wearing a clean mask every time we go out, washings masks a few times a week so we have plenty clean ones, the dogs “going to work” with Eric which means the room at the end of the hall that used to be my office, the dining room table being my new office, writing in front of my HappyLight while Eric works on the computer next to me, ordering groceries with an app and picking them up instead of going inside, texting my mom and brother almost every day, yoga classes on Zoom, Telehealth appointments with my therapist, regularly flossing my teeth, waiting outside while the dogs go inside to the vet, washing my hands all the time.

2. Truth: We are all tired. Even though it is always true that life is suffering and impermanent, there’s something heightened about that awareness right now. We are having to make space for all the things that haven’t changed, that continue to require our attention and effort regardless of what will happen tomorrow, the forward momentum of our lives. And yet, we also are holding space for grief and anger and confusion, the chaos of experience laid so bare there is no denying it (even though some are still making the effort). We are making a great effort to not give up, to keep going…here at the end of the world, in the middle of nowhere. And some days are harder than others.

3. Truth: My garden gives me solace. It’s a gift, a comfort in this confusion, this chaos, this uncertainty to still have the garden, the ground. This still works the same: start the seeds, prepare the ground, pull the weeds, amend the soil with compost, water when it needs it, plant some new things each year to continue to expand it. The timid tender promise that there will be a harvest, that there will continue to be this repetition of seasons in years to come as there has been in the years before, that seeds planted will bear fruit and flower. It is medicine and magic.

One wish: May we find comfort where we can, experience some ease and maybe even joy, and may suffering be eased — in ourselves and the world.