"Bend but do not break" is a very common cliche. However, when the hurricanes of life are upon us, it is very difficult to put this principle into practice.
This is where zen comes in to help us out.
Those who are familiar with buddhism will recognize another very common phrase, "open heart, clear mind". This catchphase is key to the art of perseverance.
Through mindfulness, we go with the flow and meet the pain and suffering of life head-on. We understand that emotions, by their very nature, are transient. We know that, with an open heart, over time, the emotional pain and and suffering inside of us will eventually flow back out.Thus, we do not try to hold on to these emotions and the loop of negative thoughts that accompany them in our minds. We choose not to define ourselves and our lives by these things.
With our clear minds, we understand that our view of reality is distored by our emotional distress. Thus, we are able to pinpoint our negative thoughts and views as mere illusions and not 'truth'.
With an 'open heart and clear mind', we are supple and flexible. As such, when problems arise, we may 'bend' under the emotional pain and suffering. However, because we do not buy into the illusions disguised as truth, we do not 'break'.
“After a heavy snowfall, the rigid branches of the pine break underneath the weight of the snow, but the more supple willow branches bend, thus allowing the snow to fall to the ground.” - Unknown
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