Posted by: Michael Rickicki | 09/28/2019

Happy Uposatha – Deciding for Myself

As much as I am loathe to admit it, my wife is a particularly difficult and unpleasant person for me to be around. I think much of it has to do with her incessant criticism and endless insults. Now I know that, ultimately no one can make me suffer, but it is equally true that, when my mindfulness fails or I become heedless, suffering invariably follows.

What I have to remember, however, is that I choose this. Everyday that I wake up in the same house as her, I choose to stay. And, it must be said that, where I once thought it would be impossible to want to leave, I now find myself biding time. And yet, somehow this doesn’t feel quite right either.

At the same time that I tire of this I recall that I have repeatedly made the aspiration to engage with difficult people to learn how to cultivate patience and compassion. And, really, how different is this from the bitter medicine we take to get over an illness?

It doesn’t feel right to simply walk away out of frustration and irritation. Rather, until this situation unravels for myriad other possible reasons I will stay and try to learn as much as I can. No one else can tell me what should be done here. I’ve got to decide for myself in each new moment.


  1. “When my mindfulness fails or I become heedless, suffering invariably follows.” I can relate to that. There will always be suffering. We think that there are countless reasons that cause us to suffer. But I like to think that the only reason I suffer is my own wrong views, ignorance and attachments. When I think this way then there are no obstacles, there are only opportunities to practice, and when I fail – and I do fail a lot – they are like mirrors that show me where I need to improve. I used to think that I would be better off living a monastic life somewhere, separated from the chaos of daily life. But I try to be grateful for the difficulties of daily life. It seems to me that they are special and unique but in reality, they are painfully common, mundane and boring. If I didn’t have them, how could I evaluate if I am on track and if I am going in the right direction? I remind myself that there is a suffering of a rich man and the suffering of a poor man. In reality, it is the same dukkha. I like to remind myself that everything is Dhamma. This type of thinking helps me a lot. Good luck Sir!

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