Row Your Boat Series #4: Down The Stream

Row Your Boat Series #4: Down The Stream

"Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream,
Merrily, Merrily, Merrily, Merrily,
Life is but a dream."

Here’s a definition of suffering -  suffering is spending one’s life rowing up, not down,  the stream. 

Loss’s are always painful.
The loss of a job,
The loss of a friendship,
The loss of a relationship,
The loss of our freedom, as we grow older or are afflicted with various ailments, 
The loss of a loved one,
All of these are painful, each to varying degrees.

Loss is always painful as we are carried down the stream, separated from something we love, cut off from someone we adore. 

The loss, however, morphs into suffering when we try, in vain, to fight our way back upstream. Life flows down river and there is nothing we can do to change the way the river flows.

When we resist the currents of grief - we suffer.
When we deny the direction of the river flow - we suffer.
When we try to fight our way, rowing back up river - we suffer.

There is no way to avoid the pain - it comes with rowing our boat.
There is a way to minimize the suffering - it comes when we accept which way the river flows. 
Or, as the Buddhist saying goes, "Pain is inevitable but suffering is optional.”

We have no say in the loss, the pain, or the grief that follows in the wake. 
We do, however, have a choice in how we will respond. 
We can choose to keep rowing.
We can choose to row gently.
We can choose to row down, not up, the stream.

Baruch HaLevi