There is no controlling life.
Try corralling a lightning bolt,
containing a tornado. Dam a
stream and it will create a new
channel. Resist, and the tide
will sweep you off your feet.
Allow, and grace will carry
you to higher ground. The only
safety lies in letting it all in –
the wild and the weak; fear,
fantasies, failures and success.
When loss rips off the doors of
the heart, or sadness veils your
vision with despair, practice
becomes simply bearing the truth.
In the choice to let go of your
known way of being, the whole
world is revealed to your new eyes.
I know that sometimes things are so bad that no matter what practices we do or what medications we take, we can't seem to generate even that small amount of faith we need for inspiration to keep going. Then, if we can stand inside our pain awhile and wait, over time we may come to also see it as a way into the deepest parts of ourselves and then back out into the world, a vehicle for new insight into who we are and how much we need to care for ourselves and one another. If there is nothing we can do right now but wait then, as TS Eliot wrote, "the faith is in the waiting." If we can but wait, we may yet emerge from despair with the same understanding that Zen master Suzuki Roshi expressed: "Sometimes, just to be alive is enough."
Sharon Salzburg, "Faith."
Well I don't think the first passage is great poetry, and the second might not strike one as elegant prose - but enough already with the lit crit. I hope you agree that these are tough and valuable insights. Distracting ourselves from painful feelings short-circuits any authentic acceptance of who we are and where we are. Accepting the reality of painful feelings, and the limitations of what we can really do about them, isn't the same thing as giving up, giving in to things we should resist.
And we can also take the pain-killers if we need to.