Journey To Freedom
by Tracy Barker

Tracy is an amateur spiritual writer who recently started submitting articles to my web site. She has also been editing some of the articles from other new writers for these pages. Like the rest of us, she has taken the next step out of the box and is finding out about her true nature through her own writing.





Featured Article

Open Up to the Suffering (Part Three) 
(giving the wound some air)

Often the suffering we feel is hard to pin down. We just feel a little off, and disturbed, but donít know why. This comes from our tendency to push suffering away, and avoid it. This however limits our ability to overcome it, or be truly released from it. We can only address a problem when we become full aware of it. We cannot be like the rabid dog, snapping at the person who is trying to treat itís injury. We have to find a moment, in a peaceful, silent place, such as a bedroom or park where we wonít be disturbed. We need to find a moment to ourselves without any distraction, to sit and watch our selves, to watch our thought and feelings. 

When you find such a moment, just feel the suffering. Open up to it. Donít fight it, nor be controlled by it. Just watch it for a moment as it comes and goes. Remember, suffering is a part of life. Without suffering we would be numb and closed, unable to understand the humanity of ourselves or others. We would be unable to feel empathy, or compassion Ė the very things that make us human! More and more then, open up to suffering. Do not wish to avoid it, thus suffering moreÖ Accept whatever suffering it is, see the causes clearly. For example, if it is physical suffering, imagine the nervous systems synapses firing. What are the causes of this particular suffering? See the causes clearly. If the situation of suffering can be changed or transformed so be it, change it, transform it. If it cannot be changed, accept it.

Usually, when tracing the causes of our suffering, we are led back to these three things: self, desire, or ignorance. Self causes suffering in that it is selfish and wants more and more. Desire causes suffering in that the desire to avoid inevitable suffering causes yet more suffering, and also, the desire for things that cause suffering (such as drugs) causes suffering. Ignorance causes suffering in that we are unaware of the true causes of our suffering, which are mostly internal Ė coming from self or desire.

So now, see into your suffering. Feel it. Calmly, breathe through your suffering. Rest in your breath and watch your suffering. Let it come, and go. Truly releasing it, allows it to pass. You will find watching our breath helps a lot as you do this.

Finding meaning in suffering
Sometimes our suffering seems pointless and unnecessary. We just canít see the point of it all. To correct this we need to find the meaning or purpose of suffering.

Recognize that difficulty, suffering, even despair, is a great opportunity, without which we could not grow as much.

 Like the wind which makes the stem grow stronger, the roots grow deeper, so too does difficulty, suffering, and even despair make us stronger and more able to be fully human, for the stronger the wind, the stronger the plant, the greater the suffering, the greater our humanity. Thinking this way may sometimes have the peculiar effect of not just relieving our present suffering but to actually lead us to look forward to our next trial! We realize that through difficulty, suffering, and even despair, we can develop patience, forbearance, acceptance, understanding, and deep calm abiding, openness, and fearlessness of suffering. We can also develop more compassion for those who suffer as we do. We can develop more loving kindness, humanity, self-honesty, and wisdom. Through suffering we can recognize the nature of suffering, and so identify its causes. This makes it easier for is to avoid the causes if we can, or accept them, and so, suffering make for the possibility of finding freedom from suffering.

Without an open recognition of suffering we are left weak, numb, unfeeling, ignorant, uncaring, deluded. We suffer blindly, unknowingly, like a fish caught in a net. If we see our situation clearly, without too struggling, we can calmly escape. If we do not see, if we avoid seeing, we are left stagnant, lethargic, paranoid and selfish. Lazy and unaware. Frightened, and afflicted with the emotions of anger, hate, and greed. We become stressed and mentally unwell as the repressed suffering grows within us, seeking release.

So, calmly abide the suffering. Open up to the suffering. Find the suffering in you. Pin it down. Feel it calmly. Look at it. Let it be. Breathe through it. And let it go. Go beyond pleasure and pain, for the seeking of the former and the avoidance of the latter is what causes suffering. Cultivate equanimity, and see everything has its place, its purpose. Suffering is teaching us. Difficulty is a form of learning. The suffering that comes from impatience teaches us to be calm. Be open, awake, and fearless. Relax. Let the clouds of suffering come, and go. Let them pass over the mirror of our mind. Be the mirror Ė untouched by the things that are reflected in it.
De-self-centralize. See the suffering of others.
Donít fight it, feel it. Open up to the suffering. Let it flow. Let it come, and go.
Learn. Find meaning in suffering. Grow.

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...more articles by Tracy Barker

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