Monday, October 18, 2021

What Are Life’s Greatest Hardships?

The book Journey to the West is about a Tang monk and his disciples who underwent 9,981 hardships before they obtained the true scriptures and righteousness. Actually, life is full of hardships. Work, life, family, love, friendship — all of them are difficult. So what are life’s greatest hardships and how can you get through them?

The hardship of habit

In life, many people have bad habits — procrastination, laziness, sleeping in late, smoking, drinking, uncompleted work, etc.

These habits, though small, can have an incalculable negative impact on your life without you realizing it. Bad habits can ruin a person, while good habits can make a person successful in many ways. What kinds of habits you have will determine the kind of life you lead.

Start now and take the first step to change your habits.

If you think reading is too boring, force yourself to read 5 pages every day; if you think exercising is too hard, walk or run for 10 minutes every day; if you think getting up early is hard, get up 5 minutes earlier than the day before.

These small changes will gradually come naturally, making you a better version of yourself.

What different people see as life's greatest hardships varies tremendously.
If you think exercising is too hard, walk or run for 10 minutes every day. (Image: pexels / CC0 1.0)

The hardest thing to find is a soul mate

A scientist once concluded that you will meet 8,263,563 people in your lifetime, of which 3,619 will become your friends and 275 will become your best friends, and almost all of them will be separated in the end. In your lifetime, it is very difficult to find someone who will stay with you until the end, and if you do, you are very fortunate.

Have you ever had such a person in your life? Someone who knows you so well that you both fully understand each other. Just like the ancient poet Su Shi and his soul friend Huang Tingjian. These two poets from the Song Dynasty, known as two of the “Great Song Calligraphers,” were like a pair of friends who shared both honor and disgrace, but never left each other.

The second half of Su Shi’s life was marked by repeated difficulties; however, Huang Tingjian did not give up his friendship with him, and the two of them still frequently exchanged poems, writings, and discussions. This is what it means to be a confidant.

It is said that friends are easy to make, but confidants are hard to come by. You often meet a lot of people in social gatherings, but there are only a few people who really understand you.

The most unpredictable thing is the world

The world is unpredictable and everyone will experience ups and downs. Only when you have experienced all kinds of challenges that life has to offer can you understand the beauty of life better and enjoy things as they come. As the saying goes, you never know which will come first, tomorrow or the unexpected.

What different people see as the greatest hardships varies tremendously.
During the Ming Dynasty, there was a man called Hu Jiushao who burned incense and worship Buddha every day, thanking the heavens for giving him another day of pure bliss. (Image: via pixabay / CC0 1.0)

The most difficult thing to do is to be content

Desire is like snow — the more it accumulates, the more you will lose your way and thus lose yourself. In life, those who know how to be contented are the happiest.

During the Ming Dynasty, there was a man named Hu Jiushao who burned incense and worshipped the Buddha every day, thanking the heavens for giving him another day of pure bliss. When his wife saw him, she laughed and said: “We have three meals a day, so how can we talk about enjoying the blessings?”

Hu Jiushao slowly said: “Firstly, we are in a peaceful and prosperous time, we are not suffering from war; secondly, we are clothed and fed; thirdly, we are in good health and not imprisoned, so how can this not be a blessing?”

Yes, contentment is the best state of life, but often it is not that we do not have enough, but that we do not know what we truly have. True happiness is never dependent on external factors — it comes from within yourself. The only way to embrace happiness is to cultivate a generous heart and to not compete with others, to compare, or be jealous.

The most difficult thing to know is your heart

The most difficult thing in the world is to understand the hearts of people. The most essential thing is to never overestimate human nature or to overestimate your position in the hearts of others.

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