“…suffering is optional”

News on television  has become almost unbearable to watch, newspapers are filled with international and local strife and mayhem. Personal and familial troubles can fill much of our consciousness. If we allow it.

How to cope. The saying – “Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional” is often attributed to the Buddha. But although it is a message that fits well into what we know of the Buddha, it is not his. To me it is of no consequence who said it first, I feel it is true.

On Monday evening I had supper with two old friends, Paul and Reed, at a restaurant located on the San Rafael Canal, a working canal built in the late 1800’s to serve the growing industial side of the town. Industries left, but the canal still serves the more work-oriented facilities. There has been a restaurant on this site ever since Bob and I moved west in 1969. About ten years ago Phil Lesh and Bob Weir (both from the band Grateful Dead) bought the restaurant site, refurbished it and have live music every night, darn good food, a fine bar and a lovely spot outside on a very large deck, where the music is not broadcast. We had supper outside on the deck where as the sun fell the proane lamps provided warmth.

My friends bragged about the incredibly easy traffic coming from Berkeley (it can sometimes be awful), but both seemed tired, weary. The mood lifted throughout the supper and by the time they left they seemed cheered. As we walked through they went on to their car, but I stayed to listen to the music which was good old fashioned rock (what?you expected Beethoven?). I thought to myself those guys need to get out more.

Bob Weir and Phil Lesh keep on keeping on and Phil Lesh will appear at the Apollo Theater on September 7 for a non-profit trying to get folks to get out and vote. Bless his heart.

MONTEREY, CA - JUNE 18: Phil Lesh of Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band performs during the Monterey International Pop Festival 2017 at Monterey County Fairgrounds on June 18, 2017 in Monterey, California. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)

Phil Lesh will headline a voter participation concert at the Apollo Theater next month.Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

Remember to mediate. Today is all we have, but that is a lot.

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On the planet in California

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