Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Zen of Doris Day

When I launched my new blog, little did I know it would inspire more blogging from my cousin at The Bright Side.  I based the title on the famous and catchy Doris Day song "Que Sera, Sera".

While I completely understand Melissa's objections, let me come at it from a different angle.  From one view you could say that her mother was telling her that her destiny is predetermined.  There isn't anything that you can do, life will just happen to you.

However, I believe what actually guides her mother to respond this way has more to do with the kind of questions she's posing.  Will I be pretty? Will I be rich?

While some might tell their child yes they'll be beautiful (at the very least in our own eyes) we cannot guarantee riches.  Rather than give a qualifying response that fits far less well to a catchy melody, she merely says "Whatever will be, will be. The future's not ours to see."

I am not a Buddhist, but the way I see it, the situation is much closer to this great quote from the Dalai Lama:

“Most of our troubles are due to our passionate desire for and attachment to things that we misapprehend as enduring entities.” 

You see, this is where she was going wrong.  And once she grows up, she falls in love, and what does she ask her sweetheart? "Will there be rainbows, day after day?"  So rather than say, "Are you mental? Have you looked at our parents and the lives of those around us? This whole commitment thing is for better and worse and richer and poorer.  We'll probably have plenty of worse and poorer, but we'll make it through." 

Instead he also says, "Que Sera, Sera. Whatever will be, will be."

In this post on Zenhabits. net, blogger Lori Deschene writes: 

We pin our happiness to people, circumstances, and things and hold onto them for dear life. We stress about the possibility of losing them when something seems amiss. Then we melt into grief when something changes—a lay off, a break up, a transfer.
We attach to feelings as if they define us, and ironically, not just positive ones. If you’ve wallowed in regret or disappointment for years, it can seem safe and even comforting to suffer. In trying to hold on to what’s familiar, we limit our ability to experience joy in the present.  A moment can’t possibly radiate fully when you’re suffocating it in fear. When you stop trying to grasp, own, and control the world around you, you give it the freedom to fulfill you without the power to destroy you. That’s why letting go is so important: letting go is letting happiness in.  (Emphasis mine.)

In essence, her mother and her sweetheart are encouraging her to let go of transient dreams of beauty and wealth, and the pie-in-the-sky ideals of those newly in love.  To hang on to these things and worry about them is trying to control the world in a way that will bring about unhappiness.

So really, to say "Que Sera, Sera," in my opinion, is that moment of letting go.  To learn to experience, and grow, and learn from life, and alter your goals accordingly.


  1. Yes! I have been a victim of letting other things define my moods. Definitely some things can make us happy and other things can make us sad but we don't have to define it by those terms or root is so deeply in attachment. :) One can be happy in any circumstance.

  2. Since the discussion that occurred after my original post, I think my view has evolved (or at least been clarified) a little. Because I do agree with you and others who have talked about the importance of letting go, or not getting so bogged down in worrying about what will happen in the future (especially when it comes to minor or non-issues.) And it's also important to remember to live in the now and be happy with what we have.

    But I don't think that this idea and that of actively working toward your desires have to be mutually exclusive. I think that we can do our best to take charge of our futures without being so hung up on it or stressing to the point that we can't survive when things don't go exactly as we had expected. In fact, I think merging the two ideas will probably make it all work out better in the long run.

    I love it when an idea sparks a good discussion! :)