Today, on my way to take a lovely, long walk Central Park, on a beautiful winter day, I read this essay from Pema Chodron’s book, “The Wisdom of No Escape,” the first Pema book I ever read:
Keep Standing Up
I remember my first interview with my teacher Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche very well because I was hesitant to talk to him about what was really the problem in my life. Instead, I wasted the whole interview chattering. Every once in a while he said, “How’s your meditation?” and I said, “Oh, fine,” and then just chattered on. When it was almost over I blurted out, in the last half-second, “I’m having this terrible time and I’m full of anger.”
Rinpoche walked me to toward the door and said, “Well, what that feels like is a big wave that comes along and knocks you down. You find yourself lying in the bottom of the ocean with your face in the sand, and even though all the sand is going up your nose and into your mouth and your eyes and your ears, you stand up and you begin walking again. The next wave comes and knocks you down. The waves just keep coming, but each time you get knocked down, you stand up and keep walking. After a while, you’ll find that the waves appear to be getting smaller.”
That’s how karma works. If you keep lying there, you’ll drown, but you don’t even have the privilege of dying. You just live with the sense of drowning all the time. So don’t get discouraged and think, “Well, I was feeling depressed and I was hiding under the covers, but then I got out of bed, I took a shower. How come I’m not living in a Disney movie now? I thought I was going to turn into Snow White. How come I’m not living happily ever after?” The waves keep coming and knocking you down, but you stand up again and with some sense of rousing yourself. As Rinpoche said, “After a while, you find that the waves seem to be getting smaller.” That’s really what happens.