In a perfect world, we always think that everything should be nice and work out in our favor.  But, as they say, "Life happens" and this coincidentally is where suffering begins.  We want what we want when we want it.  Anything else causes us to feel bad about ourselves and to suffer.  There is a saying, "You can't get olive oil until you squeeze the olive."  The implication is that adversity is the key to getting what one wants out of life.  Therefore it all comes down to context.  The famed psychiatrist Viktor Frankel who was a survivor of Auschwitz said, "In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice." The hardest part about suffering is that in the moment we forget that this adversity is creating an opportunity for us.  John F. Kennedy erroneously said, "In the Chinese language, the word "crisis" is composed of two characters, one representing danger and the other, opportunity" (I say erroneously because he is technically not correct, but his heart was in the right place).  It is easy to look back and see the negativity, suffering and scarcity but that only leads us to more negativity and to more suffering.  Like begets like.  The other day, I went to hear a prominent Buddhist priest speak with some of my students.  The lecture, if it could be called that, was more MTV than anything else.  As we left, some of my students grumbled about it.  When they asked me about it I said, "I didn't get nothing."

"I didn't get nothing," albeit not grammatically correct, means that there is something there despite the fact that we cannot see it.  We just have to be willing and open to seeing something different and use it to gain context and perspective.  The phrase, "I didn't get nothing" helps remind us that there might be something there that won't be revealed until later on, but we are open and willing to wait and see.

As we adjust our vision just a tad bit, we might just see the context with which this thing is unfolding and realize its place in the grand scheme of our lives.  Then as "Life happens" we can seize the opportunity that is at our feet and understand that we can get something out to this event.  Every thing, every person and every situation is unfolding in our favor, we just don't realize it yet.  When something happens regardless if it is good or bad, ask yourself, "What is that I am not seeing that is being gifted to me?"  If you can do that then you won't have gotten nothing.