Updated: Oct 5, 2021
What do Irish weather and the four noble truths from Buddhism have in common? They teach us an important life lesson for how to be happy - learn how to deal with impermanence. In this post I will share how learning from the Irish weather can help you live a happy life.
I love Irish weather. ‘What?’ – you’ll say. Yes, that’s right.
For those of you who have no idea what the weather in Ireland is like – it changes a lot throughout the day. Some refer to it as being ‘bipolar’, some say it resembles 'the mood of a pregnant woman' and some say, ‘there are 4 seasons in a day’.
I was confused at first. After 6 years in London, with all the rain and wind and all that, I thought I am resistant to any weather. Irish weather threw me off completely.
You wake up in the morning and look in the window – it’s grim and grey and rains. ‘Great’, you think. By the time you are ready to leave the house, after shower and breakfast – it all turns around completely. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and you don’t even remember it was grey and grim anymore.
You are in the office, tap tap tap on the keyboard. Turn your head towards the window – boom, it’s thunderstorm. And you planned an evening walk. Having lost all hope, little do you expect to see bright sunshine and pink sunset in the evening. And those are beautiful here in Dublin.
No matter how bad the weather is throughout the day, the sunset is stunning nearly every night.
Now what do the four noble truths have to do with Irish weather you must be wondering. And what the hell are those?
The four noble truths are the essence of Buddha’s teaching.
In short, when sitting under a tree just like Newton, Buddha was contemplating why on earth everyone is so miserable. It finally downed on him (as it apparently does if you spend long enough under a tree).
His revelation was later formulated as 4 noble truths:
1) Suffering is a universal human thing – everyone is miserable most of the time, it’s a fact.
2) Suffering stems from attachment and aversion - attachment to the good sensations and aversion from the bad sensations.
3) Equanimity is the answer - you can only stop being miserable if you stop wanting the good stuff and not wanting the bad stuff.
4) Meditation can help you with equanimity - and Vipassana course will teach you how.
Out of any religion, Buddhism resonates with me a lot precisely for this philosophy.
You are not special; you are not supposed to experience euphoria 100% of the time – stop expecting that and get on with life.
And when the good things come – don’t get too excited, those will pass as well. If you manage to achieve this equanimity – you’ve nailed it and you can call yourself Buddha (that literally translates as ‘awakened’ from Sanskrit).
All conditioned things are impermanent’ — when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering.The Buddha
Irish weather teaches you precisely that. In any other country, if you wake up in the morning and it’s miserable – it’s likely going to stay miserable. You get upset and get on with your day. Not in Ireland.
Irish weather teaches you not to get too attached – thunderstorm might end up with a rainbow and a sunny day. Sunny morning might turn out to be a windy grey afternoon.
You accept what comes staying reassured that it doesn’t matter what it is now – it will change soon anyway (‘Annica’ or ‘impermanence’ they call it in Pali). Just make sure you have your sunglasses with you, and your umbrella, and your t-shirt and a raincoat.
Mad Ireland hurt you into poetry. Now Ireland has her madness and weather still. For poetry makes nothing happen. W.H. Auden
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