I have said it many times before in this blog, not in those exact words perhaps, but it is true, resistance is futile.
I am living in China. I do not speak Chinese. There are many things here that are so different than what I am used to. It is worlds away from anything I have encountered before.
My life circumstances have been melted down and completely remolded. I look around and it is almost like watching a movie or being dropped into someone else's identity, which has happened in a few movies I have seen.
Confronted with life altering circumstances can bring up a veritable gusher of resistance. The sources of suffering we all are confronted with; desire and aversion. The internal struggle of "I want this, I don't want that.", the feeling that the present moment, as it is, is lacking, flawed, or undesirable.
So many of life's circumstances are beyond our individual control. The weather, what other people say or do, or even cultural parameters and societal constraints. For example Chinese culture has a deep investment in hierarchy which determines your station in life, for your entire life. Chance of birth trumps all.
Resistance is futile and true peace can only come from within. China is teaching me that in the most profound ways.
It is not the circumstance that creates distress, disturbance, or unhappiness, it is how we choose to react or respond to it. So when I can't communicate with the person at the shop, can't find that one thing I need but can find plenty of things I don't need or that I am actually a little frightened by, I can become increasingly frustrated (which has happened more than once), or I can soften, smile and go with the flow.
Happiness is an inside job, no matter where you are.