Crossing a Nameless Ocean

I find myself turning to the Buddha’s teachings in difficult times; I’ve always found his first ‘Noble Truth’ — “life is suffering” — comforting.

It sounds odd that a gloomy statement brings comfort. But it feels like a hand reaching across 2,500 years and saying, “I understand.”

The cause of our suffering, the Buddha continued, was because we cling. We cling to ‘the ten thousand joys and the ten thousand sorrows.’ We cling to our likes and dislikes, our ideas and beliefs, and we cling to the lives we have always known.

Covid-19 has forced everyone to be explorers: to leave the lives we had and pass into new ones, the shapes of which remain uncertain. The Tibetans call this crossing the Bardo; journeying in the space between spaces, a nameless ocean between home and destination.

The Buddha said that to let go of clinging is to let go of suffering. The hardest thing to let go has been the life I lived before Covid-19, but holding on to the past turns it into a heavy anchor.

I am learning to set sail, letting go one breath at a time, into the current of the in-between.