The headline of this Vox piece–It’s okay to be doing okay during the pandemic–doesn’t really prepare you for the contents of it, which is learning all about Buddhist mindfulness.

I’ve been a sort of Buddhist dilettante since high school but I hadn’t encountered “The Arrow” teaching outlined in the article:

The Buddha taught that when we experience something painful—a physical illness, or the news that someone we love has died, or witnessing suffering all around us—it’s as if the world has shot an arrow into us. It hurts! That pain is totally normal, and it’s fine to acknowledge it.

But often, what we then do is shoot a second arrow into ourselves. That second arrow is any thought we use to spin up a “story” around our pain, as a way of resisting simply being with the experience of pain.

This is pretty much exactly what I’ve been learning in therapy (!): Get comfortable with the uncomfortable feeling and don’t use your thoughts to deflect the feeling.

It’s still hard to do, but, as GI Joe–and maybe the Buddha–says, “Knowing is half the battle.”