Buddha And The 8 Worldly Winds
Have you ever felt elated to get promoted, win a game, or land the opportunity of your dreams only to then be thrown off center by losing something dear to you? What if these experiences were manifesting in your life to magnify your suffering and to teach you to let go of attachments? Buddha teaches us to remain in balance by letting go of attachments for our own spiritual freedom and growth. If you’re feeling off course, take a gaze at these 8 worldly winds and how they may be affecting your ability to stay in balance!
Pleasure and Pain
“Pain is certain, suffering is optional.” Buddha
Both pleasure and pain are fleeting. We know pain as the sore muscles after a yoga class, or through any unpleasant experience that leaves us emotionally drained. The point Buddha is making here is not to dwell in your pain because that leads you to suffering, but rather understand that just like pleasure, pain too will pass.
There is an eternal ebb and flow between pleasure and pain. To find balance between the two extremes we must learn to recognize if we are holding on to pain, causing unnecessary suffering, or clinching on to pleasure without allowing pain to flow naturally. In what ways are we turning to pleasure to suppress the flow of pain. Extra servings of dessert, people pleasing, addictions of any kind? Whatever resonates with you, just become a gentle observer of your own personal patterns of seeking pleasure and recognize when it’s preventing your spiritual and personal growth.
Gain and Loss
“You only lose what you cling to.” Buddha
Gain and loss are two opposite worldly winds that show us the power of attainment. Take a moment to think about all the things you have gained over the course of your lifetime. Did you get the new house, the fancy car, the dream job, the perfect relationship, or the upgraded lifestyle? If you’ve ever gained anything in your life, take a moment now to think about all the things you might have lost. Did you outgrow friendships when you found that perfect relationship or did you have to sell belongings to put a down payment on the fancy car? Gain and loss are inevitable to personal and spiritual growth; so as the Buddha says, don’t cling to what you gain and what you lose.
Praise and Blame
“Even as a solid rock is unshaken by the wind, so are the wise unshaken by praise or blame.” Buddha
Praise and blame are paired together to show how people may influence our lives. When I think about praise and blame people of authority come to mind, such as parents, teachers, bosses, spouses, or anyone who may have influence on how you feel accepted. Have you ever felt the excitement of being accepted by someone? Perhaps you got an award at work or in school, or you did all of the right things to earn your spouse’s praise, making you feel accepted and loved. Have you ever felt the anger of being blamed? You didn’t take the trash out, so a parent yells at you, or you didn’t turn in a homework assignment on time, so the teacher blames your bad grade on your procrastinating. What can feel even worse is being blamed for something you didn’t do! If Buddha tells us to be unshaken by praise or blame, how would this affect our feelings of being accepted and loved?
Fame and Shame
“Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.” Buddha
Fame and shame are paired together to show us our fears for social acceptance. The influence of fame may appear when we get so many likes on Instagram or when we are in the spotlight for a big achievement. The influence of shame may appear when we filter or photoshop our Instagram photos in fear someone may see us in a less than flattering light. Social acceptance begins with self-acceptance and recognizing the fears holding us back from just keeping it real. Spiritual and personal growth can occur when we face fame and shame with the same peaceful heart of self-acceptance, knowing that our worth is at the core of our being.
Kasl, C. (2005). If the Buddha got stuck. New York, NY: Penguin Books.
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