There’s more to all of this than meets the eye. We can look at the world around us and see all the complications. There are uninvited difficulties and challenges, stresses and sorrows, mistakes and failures that appear to welcome themselves into our lives as fate. Life does feel very complicated at times. It’s a human life after all. Whatever you’re going through, whatever you’re feeling, even in this very moment, it’s all part of the human condition; we are in this together.
Is there something basic and fundamental about life and the living of it that is innately simple? We may not have control over the complications of life but we do have sovereignty over how we relate to them. There is an ennobling characteristic in relating to complications with clear insight. We can live simply with our complications.
How we relate to the world engenders an understanding of duality, that there are two sides to life and that they can both be seen with clarity. As we grow in understanding we gain the insight that the two sides are actually different vantage points of a whole – life is both complicated and simple at the same time. Complication isn’t inherently bad just as simplicity isn’t inherently good; it’s all in how you see it.
We can be compassionate with ourselves as we meet the circumstances in each moment while remaining attentive to the simple fundamental qualities of life. When the appearance of life’s complications is overwhelming we can remind ourselves and recognize the simple truth that things change. If we can see clearly such an intrinsic truth we begin to recognize ease through acceptance.
Just reading it, hearing it, thinking about it doesn’t make it a personal insight. It requires experiential practice. We practice recognizing the basic fundamental qualities at the threshold of our relationship with life’s circumstances. We observe the mind to understand ourselves and our view of the world.
If we can relate to what is complicated with acceptance, softness, and openness, by remaining sensitive to the subtle underlying nature of things, recognizing that there is more to all of this than meets the eye, we learn simplicity. We learn that whatever appears is impermanent and ever changing.
When we can relate to life’s circumstances free from greed for the pleasant, aversion to the unpleasant, and delusion about what is really there we begin to discover a spaciousness and balanced quality of mind. It takes practice to realize and strengthen but it is a simple way of being in complicated times.
By Johnathan Woodside
MOI Founder, Guiding Teacher, and Executive Director