Suffering is my life. I was born and raised in a remote village in southern Philippines. We have to walk 5 hours to reached to the town area because there is only one bus that transported the villagers to the town area once a day. Sometimes my grandfather use his bull carriage for us not to be too tired from walking. I wasn’t complaining at first as i am too young to understand what really life is all about. When I started going to school, mom and dad rented a room somewhere in town for us to settle in, so that it wouldn’t be too difficult for us to travel to school and back. But still I need to walk to school for 45 minutes. I did not mind because some of my classmates were walking with me from time to time. Mom and dad works at the gold mining area and grandma took care of me and my 2 other sisters.
Later on, grandma and grandpa passed away. Dad found another job as a laborer in a construction company in another town which is nearer to the city area. It did not change our life. We are still struggling. No appliances, and no electricity. We live in a Nipa Hut, where it is only a nice place to live during summer. When it is rainy season, we always gets wet as the palm leaves roof absorbed the water and it drips in to the house.
When I was a little older, I started to think why other people are so rich who can afford to buy the things they want even if they don’t need it. So I told myself to study hard and then work.
Now that I am working, though life is getting better but it is still difficult to have more than what I wanted. Money is always not enough. My mom always said why can’t i send more money when i am earning enough. Fact is, it is never enough. I always gave them what i earned nothing’s even left for myself. But i did not complain. All i want is that i need to work hard, i have to work hard just for my family to have an easy life. They are living in a comfortable house now, they can watch television, go online and chat on Facebook, they have the latest gadgets and still it is not enough.
I can’t figure out why do i have to suffer so much like this? I was angry at my family because I have to suffer alone working just to feed them. Suffering just for them to have a good life. I wanted go home and relax but just by the thought about a day without working means a day without income and that spells trouble as I am the only Bread winner in the family. I blamed them for my predicament. Being a slave is not an easy job. You have to do all the things that your employer asked you to do because they are paying you to do so. I want to say somewhere: I’ve tried to be forgiving. And yet, there were times in my life, whole years, when anger got the better of me. Ugliness turned me inside out. There was a certain satisfaction in bitterness. I courted it. It was standing outside, and I invited it in. But then it did not give me a lasting satisfaction. It still made me miserable day by day. And still continue working to raise my family. I get to the point where I have accepted the fact that they are my only reason why i have to suffer like this. Not for myself but for my family.
Then I stumbled upon the Dharma when I was still serving my employers mom 3 years ago. I finally said to myself these are answers of the questions that has been lingering in my mind for so many years. The law of Karma made me understand that whatever we have done not only in this life has it’s own fruits. Reap what you sow. What goes around comes around. These are some quotes we always see in our Facebook feeds. I finally understand that my sufferings now are the fruits of my Karma in my previous lifetimes and it also made me understand the impermanence of life. That everything we have is temporary. Temporary happiness, temporary feelings, temporary life. The only permanent in this world is Change.
Meeting the Dharma made me realized the importance of life. The importance of doing things that brings out the pure and lasting joy within. Doing the things that brings joy to others. I realized that I haven’t done anything just for myself. Everything I do is always for others. But I did not know that being tired for others is a good way to spend our lives with. I always thought I am just wasting my life away because i did not get a chance to enjoy it. But now, not anymore.
I used to plan to buy things before payday. LOL.. I know it’s ridiculous but I guess woman does that. Woman loves to go out and splurge even before getting their pay check. In my case, I don’t own a credit or whatever card that can be use to buy stuff. I am just working in a low paying job so nothing to brag about it. But then I still want to shop for the things that’s not really necessary as a matter of fact. And when pay day comes, money just disappear even faster than the lightning. Everything just crops up. Bills came, family back home asking money for their monthly allowance. And got angry because nothing’s left. I did not even manage to buy myself a nice lunch or just those $5 t-shirt on sale at cotton on. What’s left is a month budget for the bus top up card so that i can go out every Sunday to do my Volunteering work and Dharma work. I am not going to sacrifice these golden opportunity just because i have a pathetic life.
Since I met the dharma, I felt that pure joy knowing that i sacrificed myself doing something beautiful for others. It doesn’t have to be great things. Even smiling to a stranger can be therapeutic when you know that your intention is right. I don’t blame the world for not having what i want anymore. With the Dharma in me, I am contented to live day by day just by making the best of what i have…
For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives. People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality.
I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.
When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.
By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
- Buddha, Dharma, Sangha – in a nutshell… (urbandharmaiamkarma.wordpress.com)
- Fruit of Dharma Practice (kindnessismyreligion.wordpress.com)
- Nurse reveals the top 5 regrets people have when on their deathbed (uniquelytoronto.wordpress.com)
- What Is Dharma, Righteousness Hinduism (ramanan50.wordpress.com)