It is not good for all our wishes to be filled; through sickness we recognize the value of health; through evil, the value of good; through hunger, the value of food; through exertion, the value of rest.
From "Healing Zen" by Ellen Birx:
Often we take for granted just being ordinary. We feel the constant pressure to compete, to excel, and to be special. The fact is most people are average with respect to any particular human characteristic. That is the definition of average. And yet many are not satisfied with the average or ordinary and tend to be discontent and always striving. It is a great relief and healing when you realize that just being ordinary and your ordinary life are wonderful gifts.
When people are ill often they long to return to their ordinary life and to be able to do the things they ordinarily do like climbing a flight of stairs, going grocery shopping, or driving a car. Many times when I have taken care of young people with a serious illness like diabetes they've felt sad and frustrated because they had to stick to a special diet and take insulin while all the other kids could eat whatever they wanted and just be normal. They longed to be able to do ordinary things in life like go to school, get a job, get married and have a baby. Many worked very hard to accomplish these goals.
Zen practice helps you full appreciate your ordinary life. With awareness, the ordinary becomes extraordinary. You need to pay attention to what you are doing. Be one with each task, action, or thing. In this way you will discover your true nature and the true nature of each thing will shine through, illuminating everyday life. You will perceive the richness of life and feel blessed just to be an ordinary person.
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