Say No to Suffering
Sometimes life feels like a storm. Dark clouds of change appear to threaten serious, lasting devastation. When the storm is real and significant, how do you avoid getting stuck in the debris? How can you accept the pain of what’s happening, resist the urge to stay there, and make your way to new territory?
Every one of us experiences pain. It’s a requisite part of life. But clinging to that pain – turning it into suffering – is not required. Yet our society has raised it to the level of an art form. Turn on the TV or walk past a rack of magazines and you can’t escape suffering. People love problems. They seem mesmerized by their own woes and everyone else’s.
When we cling to pain, endlessly turning a painful problem over in our mind, we relive it and breathe new life into it. It starts to take on an energy all its own. Energy drawn away from the healing process feeds the suffering. The pain looms larger in such a myopic view, and we lose perspective.
There has to be a way to say no to suffering, right? Right.
I ran across a great blog on the topic of suffering and attachment, so I’m sharing it and a few of its ideas here. Lori Deschene, author of the Tiny Buddha blog, guest authored an article for zenhabits.net. Her piece is a succinct, insightful, accessible piece on why we may choose to suffer rather than experience pain and choose to let it go. Below are two of my favorite tips from the blog, “Letting Go of Attachment from A to Zen.”
Define yourself in fluid terms. We are all constantly evolving and growing. Define yourself in terms that can withstand change. Defining yourself by possessions, roles, and relationships breeds attachment because loss entails losing not just what you have, but also who you are.
Vocalize your feelings. Feel them, acknowledge them, express them, and then let them naturally transform. Even if you want to dwell in anger, sadness, or frustration—especially if you feel like dwelling—save yourself the pain and commit to working through them.
So if you’re experiencing the pain of change, loosen your grip on it. Take a few steps back. The distance will provide a broader view – one that goes beyond the dark clouds and debris. You will be able to see all the way to growth, strength, and development. Little by little, you walk into sunnier days.