A friend is facing some pain and fear, and I’ve been deeply impressed by his attitude toward these enemies all of us have faced. Actually, he told me he tries not to consider them enemies, but rather simply as conditions that have come along in his life – conditions he can’t avoid and may as well try to get to know and understand, and – who knows –maybe even appreciate (his words). He tells me he tries to think of the pain and fear as teachers, and he says they might be the best teachers he’s ever had. He says he’s even, in a strange sort of way, grateful for their presence in his life, for he’s spent many years in -- as he puts it -- a closet of anxiety and closed-mindedness, and this pain and fear might force the doors of his life wide open. For one thing, he thinks it might open him to a greater awareness of the pain and fear that billions of people are feeling at any given moment. His situation, as he puts it, will make him a member of the vast community of sufferers on our planet. He says he has high hopes for his journey with pain and fear as he looks ahead to what he will be learning from these ancient and wise teachers.
As he embarks on his “adventure of learning” (his words), I plan to stay close to my friend, for I have a feeling he will, in turn, be a wonderful teacher for me.