Tomorrow, we bid farewell to 2020 and welcome the new year with fresh hopes that 2021 brings more favourable conditions, in stark contrast to the myriad of challenges this year has hurled at humanity. These difficult times however, provide us with a precious opportunity to reflect, learn and contemplate through the lens of Dhamma.
The pandemic ravaged the world as millions became sick and millions more endured mental anguish arising from loss and fear. We observed the arising and falling away of all conditions, both pleasant and unpleasant, laying bare the truths of Dukkha (suffering) and Aniccā (impermanence) for all to witness. When we understand these realities, the mind does not proliferate with negativity and we develop a calm acceptance of any condition and a newfound resilience.
Being responsible citizens protect not just ourselves, but everyone around us.We also recognise that our existence is bound in an intricate web of relations with all those around us. We can see that the communities which prevailed with grit were those that afforded benevolence, care, compassion and goodwill for one another. The more one cares for the benefit and betterment of others, the less one thinks of oneself.
Hope abounds that life will ‘return to normalcy’, but it could also mean that we fall back into complacency. We must remind ourselves of these truths by developing the habit of reflecting on our daily experience so that we become better at adapting to any conditions. Little by little, we can gain deeper insight into the realities of life as we walk the path towards liberation from our defilements. Let life’s experiences make us better, not bitter.