Don’t let it get the better of you


Life is struggle. That is the core understanding to be brought from Buddhism, and from that how we deal with it is up to us. When we finally feel like we have some respite, something new always seems to find its way into our lives. This is constant, and we need systems in place to deal with our feelings not only when they happen, but before they happen too.

We all deal with these struggles with some form of comfort. For many, that means Alcohol, Marijuana, food even. But in my experience, these drugs also do some irreparable damage. So, it helps to recognise these self-destructive tendencies, and to do something to deal with the struggle in a way that does not harm us.

There are many techniques we can use, my personal favourite is using our breath. Our breath is amazingly sensitive to these struggles. When I’m feeling stressed, I often find it hard to breath. In these times, I recognise this as stress, and force myself to relax. I sit down, and try to control my breath by breathing deeply 10 times. I find this in itself has amazing results, but it’s never enough.

Prevention is also important. That’s why I start every day with breathing techniques taught by Wim Hof. He also recommends the use of cold water therapy, either cold showers or sitting in ice baths, which admittedly I need to more of. Meditation is another great way to combat the struggle. It doesn’t need to be a certain way, simply sitting quietly and having thoughts pass through your mind, focusing on not focusing on them, is enough.

Another great teaching from Buddhism, and also Taoism, that comes from this core idea on struggle is that things are neither good nor bad, they just are. When we try to feel things as good or bad, that’s our ego talking, but if we can learn to just accept things as they are, we can better deal with struggle. In these ways, we can stop the struggle from getting the better of us.

It’s a constant battle, but life is a constant thing. Don’t let it get the better of you.



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Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi

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Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan

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