I saw a bumper sticker on a car the recently and it read, “No bad days.” Maybe you have seen this sticker? I have since seen the sticker all over the place and every time I see it, I have the same reaction. I find myself shaking my head and saying, “Really?” I wonder if people actually believe that? Working in healthcare for the past 22 years, I have seen people have some really bad days – bad years, in fact. I notice that most advertising on television or the internet or in magazines, portrays people smiling and laughing while driving their new car or drinking a coffee or sipping spirits. I realize it wouldn’t sell very well if they showed the reality of life on their faces. The reality, is that life is difficult.
One of my favourite books is, “The Road Less Traveled” by Scott M. Peck. Dr. Peck is a psychiatrist who knows a thing or two about the reality of the human experience. At the beginning of the book, he opens with this statement, “Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult-once we truly understand and accept it-then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”
It would be difficult to put that quote on a bumper sticker and it clearly is not as catchy as “No bad days” but it is real. I sometimes wonder if we are sending the wrong message with slogans like “No fear” or “No bad days.” Are we insinuating that everyone else is living a life of “no fear” or not having any bad days? I am nearly half-way through my yoga teacher training at Ekahi now. The journey so far has taught me many things but two that stand out for me are: 1) I am capable of more than I thought and 2) the fatigue that comes with practicing and learning twelve hours a day has, at times, been difficult both physically and emotionally.
Long ago when I read Dr. Peck’s book, I accepted the reality of life which is that it is difficult. In accepting that life is difficult for everyone, it does seem to make that fact, matter less. It is like accepting that water is wet; once accepted, it doesn’t really matter anymore. The transcendence of the difficulties of life comes when you know that your experience of difficult days is simply the nature of life itself. Life, like all energy, follows the natural laws of waves – there are ups and there are downs. Like the asanas that move the yogin up off the floor and back down to the floor we experience the waves of life and accept the nature.