No matter how much I walk, or how fit I am, there is always a point on a steep upward section where I end up wanting it to stop. Muscles aching, lungs heaving, wondering why on earth I am doing this again – all I want is for it to be over.
But then I remember that this is part of the whole experience. Digging in and keeping going that makes the challenge worthwhile. The point is to experience the reality of the situation, even if it is unpleasant. It is the detail of the moment, the particular muscles that are stretching, the rhythm of my breath, the textures of the ground beneath my feet that make me feel alive.
The situation is not the problem, it is what it is. It is the wanting it to stop that causes the suffering.
This is true of everything. Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. Whether it is feeling frustrated at the COVID restrictions, feeling frightened driving a big truck, or even feeling grief at the loss of a loved one, wanting it to stop is the problem. Accepting that it is happening, and that this too will pass, offers a blessed relief from suffering.