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
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
Learn. Find meaning in suffering. Grow.
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