I have been thinking a lot about suffering, how much we suffer in a lifetime. There seems to be no way of escaping it. The short version for this? We are human.
Looking back on my life and observing others’ lives, we suffer from the time we are born. The mother suffering during childbirth, the baby suffers as well, (although quickly forgotten for both). Birth has a happy ending and the suffering is quickly replaced by plenty of love.
Being human is not an easy thing, I have learned from my work that although I am not ready to die, I will be grateful for a time when there is no more suffering in this world and peace will inhabit the hearts of all men and women. Peace makers in our history try to set this example from their own suffering. Nelson Mandela, The Dalai Llama, and Martin Luther King to name a few have witnessed great suffering not only in their own lives but many around them.
Death leaves behind something that makes us feel uncomfortable, empty, questioning life which makes us suffer. As humans we want so much to have peace and be happy but as they say, sometimes life gets in the way. Let’s take another view on this. Although I would not call myself a highly religious person I am more spiritual than anything with roots in Catholicism. Suffering in my life has brought me great wisdom. Many times I do reflect on the lives of the great ones for this wisdom that I mentioned earlier.
Even looking at the life of Jesus, talk about overcoming fear and suffering! His heart was full of love for his fellow humans, he worked hard and was all about love and healing hearts. There will always be those that will fight and hurt others who have attained such wisdom. In our time, your time, no matter how old you are, you have a choice. Sadness and suffering are different. If you are sad and you choose to suffer and be angry from it, you will suffer more. Don’t get me wrong here, things happen but do not stay there long, get help and support. Choose your decisions based on love and not fear.
What you’re going to do is a practice, that can inhabit your broken heart and bring it peace. For example: I am so sad my mother died, I loved her so much and now she is just gone! How will I go on? I hate cancer, it took her life! Could I have saved her? Should I have done more? Where am I in these statements? I am bouncing back between past and future thoughts which amounts to more suffering. Let’s do that again, and replace it with something different. My mother died, she had cancer. I am going to miss her every day. I breathe in a deep breath, allow it to be there, rest in the fact it is okay to miss her. She did her best and so did I.
I know suffering will come and go. This is a practice like going to the gym or starting a workout routine. Don’t start out heavy; you’re not strong enough yet. What I would suggest is everyday be conscious of the self-talk, negative thinking and catch yourself. Replace those thoughts with a loving one, one of acceptance of life and things happen. No one can control life or death, trying to will suffocate you and give you so much angst. Breathe and whatever happens especially with events we cannot control; just know you did your best at a difficult time on your life.
I wish you peace on your journey.