The Eight Vicissitudes of Life

December 10, 2013

The eight vicissitudes of life

The Eight Vicissitudes of Life

Pleasure and Pain

Praise and Blame

Ill repute and Fame

Loss and Gain

Life is always going to be filled with these eight experiences.  Do not confuse the vicissitudes of the moment with the definition of how things always are.   Whether your day is good or bad, the experience is just temporary.


Don’t Try to Change the Weather

The nature of things is a constant experience of shifting between the eight vicissitudes.  Do not try to change the nature of things. Do not cling to the weather of the day and say, “This is it!  All of life is like this day!”  That is ignoring the nature of things.  Calm is possible, even during a passing storm. Change your relationship with the nature of things. Imagine you are a large, sturdy oak tree and the vicissitudes are the wind.  Some days are calm.  Some days are stormy.  If you rest your attention on your leaves then your life will feel chaotic and out of control.  If you rest your attention farther below then you will find a sturdy self, aware of the weather of the day but not swept up by it.


Change How you View the Weather

A peaceful life is not attained by trying to control the weather.  Trying to change what is out of your control will only serve to make you feel more out of control.  A peaceful life is attained by learning to rest your attention on your sturdiness, something that is always present no matter the weather of the day. For many, practicing sitting calmly and follow the breath leads to the awareness of something sturdier – something that is always present and unmoved by the weather of the day.  Others find their sturdiness through yoga, going for a walks, petting their pets, or curling up with a good book.  You need to find your path to shifting your attention away from your leaves and towards your unwavering core.  It’s there, even if you have never seen it before.

Do not confuse shifting your attention with ignoring the weather.  Attempts to ignore the weather of the day will only make you feel more out of control!  Find your sturdiness and use it as a base to observe what is going on.  From your base, observe what is and then just shift your attention back to what you are doing in the moment.  It is a matter of moving your attention back and forth between your base and the weather.  From your base, look at the weather of the day.  Then label it. Then let it go.

Label it. Let it go.

Label it.  Let it go.

Label it.  Let it go.

No matter the weather, remember it is just passing through.  Enjoy the weather when it is nice.  Keep yourself company when it is a rainy day.  And remember to take a slow breath in and out.  All weather passes with time.


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