Our teacher, Thanat Chindaporn often says, “no obstacle,” no success. What he means is that if we want to achieve something meaningful it is not going to be easy. It’s obvious that we don’t perceive a problem when we get whatever we want. So the only question is how are we going to respond when things don’t go our way? Sure, we can try our best to improve the situation but what if that doesn’t happen right away? We need something to sustain us during the period of time when we are not getting what we want.
Thankfully, this exact problem is the central question that is answered by Buddha and the insight meditation practice that he discovered. The miracle of this practice is that it trains us to accept the status quo for whatever it is even if we don’t like it. We call this rising above the condition of the mind and it happens when a person is mindful in the present moment. This is not an intellectual exercise, it arises from training the mind to respond in certain way to adversity.
Once we recognized that we are experiencing a negative feeling, this also helps us to realize that we are not our feelings. Feelings are just a part of nature like the birds and bees. We don’t need to worry just because we have a bad feeling. It’s ok to feel bad sometimes. With keen mindfulness we can let go of the negative feeling and get back to what we are doing in the present moment. We don’t have to entertain the notion that there is a problem just because we don’t like the feeling we are experiencing at this particular moment. We can choose to learn from it. That way we can be happy in various situations because even if they don’t arouse positive feelings, we still have an opportunity to rise above them.