Tagged with: pain

“This pain is not to make you sad, remember. That’s where
people go on missing…. This pain is just to make you
more alert—because people become alert only when the arrow
goes deep into their heart and wounds them. Otherwise they
don’t become alert. When life is easy, comfortable, convenient,
who cares? Who bothers to become alert? When a friend dies,
there is a possibility. When your woman leaves you alone—those
dark nights, you are lonely. You have loved that woman so much
and you have staked all, and then suddenly one day she is gone.
Crying in your loneliness, those are the occasions when,
if you use them, you can become aware.
The arrow is hurting: it can be used. The pain is not to make you miserable,
the pain is to make you more aware! And when you are aware, misery
disappears.”

“This pain is not to make you sad, remember. That’s where
people go on missing…. This pain is just to make you
more alert—because people become alert only when the arrow
goes deep into their heart and wounds them. Otherwise they
don’t become alert. When life is easy, comfortable, convenient,
who cares? Who bothers to become alert? When a friend dies,
there is a possibility. When your woman leaves you alone—those
dark nights, you are lonely. You have loved that woman so much
and you have staked all, and then suddenly one day she is gone.
Crying in your loneliness, those are the occasions when,
if you use them, you can become aware.
The arrow is hurting: it can be used. The pain is not to make you miserable,
the pain is to make you more aware! And when you are aware, misery
disappears.”

If you are new to meditation practice, you may well think that you have no choice about how you experience suffering. You may have some problem from your past or in your current situation that seems as though it can be understood only as unrelenting pain—an abusive family history, a torturous marriage, economic woes, a hideous wrong done to you, a disabled child whose affliction breaks your heart. But if you give yourself the chance to investigate your suffering more deeply, you will discover that being “with” your pain can lead to wisdom and happiness. The event or circumstances itself does not lose its unpleasantness or unfortunate quality, but by going through it consciously you arrive at a peaceful and luminous state of mind.

If you are new to meditation practice, you may well think that you have no choice about how you experience suffering. You may have some problem from your past or in your current situation that seems as though it can be understood only as unrelenting pain—an abusive family history, a torturous marriage, economic woes, a hideous wrong done to you, a disabled child whose affliction breaks your heart. But if you give yourself the chance to investigate your suffering more deeply, you will discover that being “with” your pain can lead to wisdom and happiness. The event or circumstances itself does not lose its unpleasantness or unfortunate quality, but by going through it consciously you arrive at a peaceful and luminous state of mind.

The essence of saintliness is total acceptance of the present moment, harmony with things as they happen. A saint does not want things to be different from what they are; he knows that, considering all factors, they are unavoidable. He is friendly with the inevitable and, therefore, does not suffer. Pain he may know, but it does not shatter him. If he can, he does the needful to restore the lost balance – or lets things take their course.

The essence of saintliness is total acceptance of the present moment, harmony with things as they happen. A saint does not want things to be different from what they are; he knows that, considering all factors, they are unavoidable. He is friendly with the inevitable and, therefore, does not suffer. Pain he may know, but it does not shatter him. If he can, he does the needful to restore the lost balance – or lets things take their course.

Everything in life changes. The path to true happiness is one of integrating and fully accepting all aspects of our experience. This integration is represented in the Taoist symbol of yin/yang, a circle which is half dark and half light. In the midst of the dark area is a spot of light, and in the midst of the light area is a spot of darkness. Even in the depths of darkness, the light is implicit. Even in the heart of light, the dark is understood, acknowledged, and absorbed, If things are not going well for us in life and we are suffering, we are not defeated by the pain or closed off to the light. If things are going well and we are happy, we are not defensively trying to deny the possibility of suffering.

Everything in life changes. The path to true happiness is one of integrating and fully accepting all aspects of our experience. This integration is represented in the Taoist symbol of yin/yang, a circle which is half dark and half light. In the midst of the dark area is a spot of light, and in the midst of the light area is a spot of darkness. Even in the depths of darkness, the light is implicit. Even in the heart of light, the dark is understood, acknowledged, and absorbed, If things are not going well for us in life and we are suffering, we are not defeated by the pain or closed off to the light. If things are going well and we are happy, we are not defensively trying to deny the possibility of suffering.

The path to happiness and a sense of well-being in this very life lies not in avoiding suffering but in using the conscious, embodied, direct experience of it as a vehicle to gain deep insight into the true nature of life and your own existence. Instead of being a reactionary slave to the inevitable pain, frustration, stress, and sorrow in your life, which the Buddha called ‘dukkha’, you can free your mind such that you have a sense of well-being even when dukkha is present, and you create the possibility of finding compete freedom. Why not dance with the constant vicissitudes of life in a manner that is joyful and liberated, rather than feeling like a victim or being flooded with fear and stress?

The path to happiness and a sense of well-being in this very life lies not in avoiding suffering but in using the conscious, embodied, direct experience of it as a vehicle to gain deep insight into the true nature of life and your own existence. Instead of being a reactionary slave to the inevitable pain, frustration, stress, and sorrow in your life, which the Buddha called ‘dukkha’, you can free your mind such that you have a sense of well-being even when dukkha is present, and you create the possibility of finding compete freedom. Why not dance with the constant vicissitudes of life in a manner that is joyful and liberated, rather than feeling like a victim or being flooded with fear and stress?

Everything with substance casts a shadow. The ego stands to the shadow as light to shade. This is the quality that makes us human. Much as we would like to deny it, we are imperfect. And perhaps it is in what we don’t accept about ourselves—our aggression and shame, our guilt and pain—that we discover our humanity.

Everything with substance casts a shadow. The ego stands to the shadow as light to shade. This is the quality that makes us human. Much as we would like to deny it, we are imperfect. And perhaps it is in what we don’t accept about ourselves—our aggression and shame, our guilt and pain—that we discover our humanity.

It does not interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It does not interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals, or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain! I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with the wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another and be true to yourself, if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul, if you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from it’s presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after a night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be hear. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

It does not interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It does not interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals, or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain! I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with the wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another and be true to yourself, if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul, if you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from it’s presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after a night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be hear. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

Not all pain is negative, even though we label all forms of pain as such and resist them. Positive-negativity is a circumstance that causes us to go deeper, to search ourselves, to stop placing blame on the causes of suffering outside ourselves, and take self-responsibility.
Circumstances arise and hard times come so that we may grow through them, so that we may evolve. I like to say that a bad day for the ego is a good day for the soul. When we look back on some of our most challenging experiences, we admit that we wouldn’t trade what we gained from them for remaining the same as we were. Something within acknowledges that during those times when we are pressed against the ropes of life, we learn to become more generous, to forgive, to never give up on ourselves or others. We learn to regenerate, to rejuvenate, to surrender.

Not all pain is negative, even though we label all forms of pain as such and resist them. Positive-negativity is a circumstance that causes us to go deeper, to search ourselves, to stop placing blame on the causes of suffering outside ourselves, and take self-responsibility.
Circumstances arise and hard times come so that we may grow through them, so that we may evolve. I like to say that a bad day for the ego is a good day for the soul. When we look back on some of our most challenging experiences, we admit that we wouldn’t trade what we gained from them for remaining the same as we were. Something within acknowledges that during those times when we are pressed against the ropes of life, we learn to become more generous, to forgive, to never give up on ourselves or others. We learn to regenerate, to rejuvenate, to surrender.

Though this post is written mostly from my perspective and my experience, it’s based on a dynamic that my girlfriend and I are consciously working with in our relationship. Much of the awareness I have gained in the last two years has been sparked by our interactions and deep discussions about our relationship and our own inner work. To make things more interesting, I’ve asked her to add her feminine voice/perspective here and there. In this process of discussing, editing and polishing this post together, we basically wound up co-writing it. In that sense it is very much a joint effort, and Beth has offered many insights and observations regarding her sense of these dynamics that have helped me deepen my understanding of myself (as you’ll see below). And for that, I have a tremendous amount of love and gratitude for this absolutely amazing woman.


An exercise in feeling and awareness

Feeling pain can be a scary thing. I’m not talking about the secondary sensation that’s left after being able to overcome (or cover over) pain; I’m talking…

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Though this post is written mostly from my perspective and my experience, it’s based on a dynamic that my girlfriend and I are consciously working with in our relationship. Much of the awareness I have gained in the last two years has been sparked by our interactions and deep discussions about our relationship and our own inner work. To make things more interesting, I’ve asked her to add her feminine voice/perspective here and there. In this process of discussing, editing and polishing this post together, we basically wound up co-writing it. In that sense it is very much a joint effort, and Beth has offered many insights and observations regarding her sense of these dynamics that have helped me deepen…

Read more...

earthdrop
What is Mindfulness?

Was there ever a time when you felt suddenly alive? It was like the doors of the world opened for a minute and you could see directly into life. You were able to touch life directly and were not lost in your fears and worries. This experience may not have been during a big event like performing in a play or playing in a championship game; it may have been while walking in the woods or talking to a friend. All of a sudden you felt alive, awake. This quality of waking up, or penetrating into life, we could call…

- Soren Gordhamer

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