Alfred Eisenstaedt, Children at a Puppet Theatre, Paris, 1963
Each summer I teach creative writing classes at the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. It’s a wonderful job for many reasons: my colleagues are uniformly, eccentrically brilliant, I’ve taught at campuses all over the country, from Los Angeles to the U.S. Virgin Islands Continue reading
Life is a journey, and has its ups and downs.
During that journey, we sometimes experience moments of joy, celebrating in laughter and happiness. There are also other moments — sad, gloomy moments in which we experience suffering and despair.
Almost every one of us prefers the first kind of moments over the second. We prefer light over darkness, happiness over suffering, joy over despair. And we desire them so much that we cling to them as hard as we can, not wanting to let go of them. But it is not in our control to possess them, and no matter how strongly we try to hold on to them, they will always leave us empty-handed, making us feel down and disappointed.
At the same degree that we like the first kind of moments, we dislike the second kind of moments. We try our best to flee from them when we sense them approaching, doing anything possible to avoid experiencing them again — but to no avail. The more our minds are fixated on them, the more we attract them, and the more afraid we are of them, the more we are impacted by them.
All moments, whether pleasant or unpleasant, are temporary, lasting only for a while, until they dissolve and disappear into nothingness. Therefore the less we are attached to or repelled by them, the less we are bound to suffer.