Hi Everybody! I have so many wonderful Facebook friends and followers, and I enjoy staying in touch with you all. So I have been thinking about another way to do so. On most Sundays, I post the News from the Church O’ The Pines. On another page, Values, Virtues, Vision, we keep track of the political challenges of the day. Here I often post things that are of interest to me in daily life. And I enjoy your comments and feedback!
So starting today I’m starting something new–a structure that will allow me to share some things I think are truly important in life, on a regular basis. I’m calling it Wood’s Lore, based on a syndicated newspaper column and radio series I once did. The idea is simple. There are Teachers and Lessons and Meanings all around us, all the time, in the form of sunrises and sunsets, cardinals and chickadees, animals and rocks and trees and plants, rivers and streams, stars and moon, and, of course, each other. In the journey of life, we encounter all these things, and I’ve found it’s good practice to notice them and honor them. And pass their wisdom along. So I’ll post some ideas–big, little, and medium-sized–probably not every day, but regularly–and we can look at them and toss them around and see where they come down. And if they’re useful. I’m looking forward to it. And I’m going to start with this one.
LIFE IS DIFFICULT. This is a plain and simple truth. Perhaps the most important one of all. And you don’t have to spend much time outdoors to know it’s true. Hiking a rough portage trail, paddling a wind-whipped lake or running big rapids, setting up camp in the rain, cooking over a sputtering fire, dealing with biting flies or mosquitoes or an embedded fish hook or an injury, just pulling on a pair of wet jeans in the morning!–all these things remind us. And of course, regular, plain old life in all its daily forms, indoors or somewhere other than the natural world is just as difficult. Usually more so. The fact that life is difficult is obvious and is endlessly impressed upon us. (And it’s fatal too!) It has even been turned into stupid sayings on T-shirts. (Life is hard and then you die.)
So why do we have such a hard time remembering it–this basic truth–and keeping it in perspective? And even more important, why do we spend so much time and energy wishing it wasn’t true, trying to believe it isn’t true, or shouldn’t be, or that it’s not fair, or is unfairly true for us but not for other people, or that it SHOULD be more true for certain other people but not for us, or that there were times past when it wasn’t true, or that we can make it not be true in the future, or that we can escape it or run away from it… or…or…
I don’t know. But I know one thing. It’s true. The Buddha built a whole religion and philosophy based upon it. And I know something else–you don’t have to be a Buddhist, or a Christian, or a monk, or a wilderness guide or a writer, or a short-order cook or a postman or a school teacher or anything else, to understand this truth and let it help you. Yes, help you. And the way it helps is this: Once you really understand it, and believe it, and build it into your life, and remember it… well then, somehow…almost magically…life isn’t quite so difficult anymore. You can accept and rise above the hardship and enjoy the sunrise, and the taste of tea, and the fragrance of a rose, and the presence of your friend. Because those things are true, too.