No More Suffering….
I was recently on a family trip to Switzerland, a long dream of my parents to see the Alps. The trip was an amazing bonding experience with my sisters, my daughters and my parents, who are getting later in their years and physically cannot get around very well anymore. My father was using a walker to keep him stable and my mother was using a wheelchair as her knees just could not take the pounding of the daily travel stops. Between my sisters, my daughters and brother-in-law we managed to get through the constant transitions between the bus, the trains, and the various challenges in the mountains. Then we went to Zermatt at the foot of the Matterhorn. If you are not familiar with Zermatt, it is famous for not allowing cars into the town, nearly everyone arrives by train, and outside of small electrical carts, you walk throughout the village. Think quaint Swiss village with brown chalets, painted shutters and colorful red geraniums in every flower box. The highlight of Zermatt was taking a series of trams up the Klein Matterhorn (little Matterhorn) to reach the highest point in Europe you can reach by aerial tramway (12,740 ft). This was quite challenging for our crew as the trams did not stop so getting my parents to shuffle into the car while we folded and entered the tram with the wheelchair and walker took precision and speed. However, we made it to the mid-point and were taking these epic pictures of the mountains when I realized that through all the chaos of the tram transfer I had forgotten my bag somewhere. This wasn’t just any bag, it was my work laptop. Since we were leaving the village that day we had been requested to leave our carry-on luggage in the lobby of the hotel while we toured the mountains. I didn’t trust leaving my laptop in the lobby so I carried with me…and now, in the chaos it was gone. I searched the grounds everywhere and knew immediately I had left somewhere at the bottom of the tram while I was focused on my parents. My initial thought was it’s a laptop and can be replaced but I work for a cyber-security company so this was a serious deal as any break into the company’s system would be a global headline. Through this, I stopped, and I breathed in deeply and I focused on my family and the moment in front of me as I knew there was nothing I could change or alter my situation. We explored the top of the Klein, went inside of glacier and had amazing views of the Matterhorn. Then, on the way down the mountain daughter pulled me aside and said “how do you stay so calm? I would be freaking out if my laptop was gone.”
I smiled in this question as I knew it was the crux of all of our suffering in life. All I could think about was the guru who said “why worry if you can’t do anything about a situation, and why worry if you can.”
There were actions to take in the moment, which we did, we notified the tram operators and at the village we notified the formal Swiss lost and found system they have in place. There wasn’t anything more we could do. The event happened, I couldn’t change it so why suffer? Our suffering in life is very simple. It comes from wanting life to be different than it actually is. Just look at events in your life and notice when you have suffered it comes from your mind wanting life to be different than it actually is. We cannot control what happens in our lives but we can control how we react to it. Many Zen stories, such as Is that so?, speak of this.
I could have thrown and fit, and been sad and overwhelmed and sucked the energy of the group into my ‘problem’, and we would have missed one of the most incredible scenic moments I’ve ever experienced. The guide told us that it’s extremely rare to see the full Matterhorn as the clouds and weather keep it concealed for most of the year, maybe 8-10 times you can see it in its full glory. We experienced one of these days and it was spectacular.
Living a life with peace and love requires a life without suffering. If our mind is focused on what could or should be then we miss each moment in the present. Even when there are challenging times in our life there is something beautiful happening if we look. If we adjust our mind to accepting and flowing with life then we can find the beauty in every moment. How can we know happiness unless we know sadness? Let go of how you think life should be for you and live in each moment, it is here you will let go of attachment and flow with life. It is here you will find peace.
Two days after we left Zermatt as we were exploring Lake Lucerne I got a call that someone had turned in my bag in full with nothing missing inside.
“Why worry if you can’t do anything about a situation, and why worry if you can.”
Let go and flow.
Love. Inspire. Connect