Yesterday, I learned I’m losing my job, along with all 500 of my co-workers. Yet people have noticed that I’m happy, much to their surprise, and it even surprises me.
This morning, I reflected on the Buddhist idea that “conditioned existence” (which basically means anything other than God) has the three characteristics of dukkha (suckiness), anicca (impermanence), and anatta (lack of discrete, definable reality), and that dukkha, the suckiness aspect, is proportionate to clinging to or rejecting what’s there, or grasping for what’s not.
A massive layoff like this is a prime expression of anicca, anatta, and dukkha. My job, like all jobs, like all things, is impermanent, I knew that, but now its impermanence is manifest. There’s also no discrete, definable reality to it. It came into existence because of the decisions of many people, existed through the interdependence of many people working together, and is passing because some of the key conditions which kept it going are changing.
If I grasped it as something I MUST have, something that defined me, I would be in great pain (dukkha), and the suckiness would be overwhelming. Similarly, if I tried rejecting the situation, (NO, this ISN’T happening to me!), my dukkha will go sky-high because I’ll have wasted time in denial instead of looking for another job.
How to live a life with as little dukkha as possible? By not grasping, nor rejecting, but meeting every situation as it is and responding appropriately, always cultivating the compassion to love all as myself and love the Father of all, with all I am.
Here in the fleeting world, in these fleeting bodies and minds, is the Eternal One. Never to leave nor forsake, but with us always, even to the end of the world. And beyond.