We all have desires. We set goals, make commitments, and chase dreams with hope in our eyes and passion in our hearts. Every journey begins with a possibility – enjoyable yet challenging job, money to live comfortably, healthy children full of love and joy, and time to spend with friends and family. We don’t think about the suffering and hardships before they happen. In this way, we are reactive beings.
Three weeks ago I had a tough loss. I placed last at the US indoor track and field championships. Leading up to the race my indoor season was full of promise. I was coming off back-to-back wins. My training was at its finest. I could not have predicted what happened next. When the women in my race started to run faster my body had a different plan. Where was my energy?
It was like preparing for a trip to France. I googled French cuisine. I mapped out the best tourist attractions. I even bought the Rosetta Stone to learn French. I was prepared for the vacation of my life in France. But when I got off the plane the pilot informed me that I had landed in Ireland NOT France.
We often do not prepare for unintended circumstances (just ask the Government). Imagine predicting the outcomes before the event takes place and then imagine this prediction as negative. That’s like saying, “I am going to lose this race before the gun goes off” or “I am going to get a divorce before the wedding vows are said”. Psychologists refer to this type of “before” thinking as negative self-fulfilling prophecy. You think about the negative outcome before the event takes place. Then the once untrue belief becomes reality. Negative self-fulfilling prophecy comes unnaturally. It is more natural to think about the positive outcomes and then to be reactive when a bump in the road occurs. I challenge you to embrace our reactive nature for this is your Buddha.
Everyone has a Buddha. Sometimes more than one Buddha at the same time. A Buddha can be a person, place, thing, or event. A Buddha can be an external problem or internal conflict. A Buddha is the opportunity to learn, grow, and reflect. Ultimately, a Buddha challenges you to be mindful of suffering and hardships and to turn it into compassion, wisdom, and generosity. A Buddha is when you land in Ireland after you prepared for a vacation in France. Although Ireland is just as beautiful as France, you have to learn Irish cuisine, visit Ireland’s greatest attractions, and learn a new language.
[check out this award winning documentary on the Buddha]
The US Track and Field Championships was my Buddha. It gave me the chance to be mindful of the disappointment and anger surrounding such an unexpected loss. It gave me the chance to strengthen my mind and to find joy in yet another loss after months of training and preparation. This was not my first Buddha and this will not be my last. I love how we are reactive beings because it gives us the chance to find out what or who our Buddhas are. By finding your Buddha, your mind finds equilibrium. When your mind finds equilibrium, you find joy. I will share more of my Buddhas as I continue to “find my stride.” If you are feeling brave, share your Buddha.
Thanks for reading!