Three Inevitable Realities

Gotama Buddha set out upon his journey to overcome suffering after understanding the three inevitable realities we all face as human beings; old age, sickness, and death.

While in Iceland, being nearly in constant touch with such astounding natural beauty, I began to contemplate how in human kind's pursuit of overcoming old age, sickness, and death, we've literally built up walls and boundaries to try to separate ourselves from the risks inherent in nature, and consequently nature itself. Unfortunately, humans and the natural world are inextricably interconnected, and I'm concerned of the implications this separation has on our general sense of well being.  It appears, in our efforts to avoid suffering, that we're in fact creating more suffering. 

My mom recently expressed, partially playfully, that if she could, she would advise God to make it such that our health at age 30 would be maintained until death, and death would be but a quick, painless moment.  Not a long, drawn out, painful decline, but rather healthy, healthy, healthy, dead (might this have been more possible in the days when you might have been randomly mauled by a predator?)  Again, this made me think, with all of the advances in science and medicine, despite our best efforts, suffering continues to arise on account of trying to avoid suffering. 

The practices that Gotama Buddha shared with humanity provide for the means to accept and navigate these inevitable realities, and the more mundane we face everyday, head on.  Each and every moment that we experience fully, without judgement, craving or aversion, clinging or pushing away, we're developing the skills necessary to accept reality as it is, not as we wish it would be.  These skills are directly developed in our meditation practice when we objectively experience the sensations of the body, or the sensation of the breath.  Essentially, in these practices we're learning the skills of how to accept life.

And by no means am I suggesting that we shouldn't seek out medical care when we're ill, nor should my statements be perceived as a lack of gratitude for the advances in life saving technology, but rather understood as calling attention to the inherent desire to be free from suffering, and to shine light on a path that leads to it.