Hello all,

I’ve only been studying the dharma for a year now, and this topic perhaps relates particularly to my lack of experience applying it to my life. But in that year’s time I feel that I have come to know/experience at least some of the basic principles and Buddhist philosophy. And in applying these philosophies to my life, they seem to make sense; holding up to my logic and testing.

I understand that I am only what I am. Should I be striped of my past, or of my hopes for the future, my music, my hobbies, my clothing or anything else I base my identity on, ultimately this should not change who I am. And that I should not try to cling to these as if my existence depends on them. I should stop trying to prove my existence, and just enjoy existence.

Yet yesterday, when an important academic application deadline for me arrived, and unexpected circumstances jeopardized my ability to satisfy this deadline, I instantly sunk into such a deep pit of anxiety that my body ached, my gut wrenched, and my mind soon became burn out. In that instant, all that philosophy flew out the window and was replaced with feelings of impeding doom, self-doubt, failure, and self-pity. Even when I looked out the window and observed pine branches waving gently in the brisk fall breeze I still could not convince myself that that tranquility and ‘suchness’ could ease this situation, or even be applied to the situation at hand.

The only difference I can say I noticed between my reaction yesterday, and how I may have reacted to a similar situation a year earlier was that I made a few efforts to be mindful of the pain (though they were short lived at best).

It is now 24 hours later, and things managed to came together (as they often do). In looking back, I am amazed how quickly my “all things are inherently perfect” attitude was jettisoned when my ego was so abruptly brought back to a reality it didn’t like. It is true that “all things are impermanent / this too shall pass”, and it did, and I feel stronger because of it. But although I believe I can and am learning from it, the reaction was so instinctual that I fear I will not be able to evade it next time such a scenario comes a’knokin’.

How easy it is for me to take for granted that I am even in a position to submit this particular application at all. :?