8/27/12 – Pain is Inevitable, Suffering is Optional

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“Grant that I may be given appropriate difficulty and sufferings on this journey so that my heart may be truly awakened and my practice of liberation and universal compassion may be truly fulfilled.”

– Tibetan Prayer

I think the quote speaks for itself ,but I wanted to add parts of this article I read today, A Way Out of Suffering: An Interview With Sharon Salzberg, that really stuck out to me and reminded me of this quote:

 “I could do something about the suffering. I couldn’t change the circumstances, or make the loss or hurt go away, but I could change how I dealt with it. I could approach my pain with compassion instead of bitterness, in community rather than isolation. I realized the same was true of changing my relationship to pleasure. I could be so distracted, I wouldn’t notice when something good did happen. And with neutral things, like my daily routine, I was barely aware of being there. The Buddha offered a very simple, pragmatic tool — meditation — to transform one’s relationship to everything…

Meditation can be thought of as sitting quietly and being with what is. It’s also a process where we train our attention. Both ways of viewing meditation help us be with whatever experience we are having. Concentration helps us steady our attention, which is important, because if we aren’t centered, we’ll get sucked into whatever painful experience comes along, and we won’t be able to see clearly. Mindfulness helps us refine our attention so we can be with the present moment rather than projecting out into the future or the past, or judging ourselves. Lovingkindness helps us open our attention so we can stop being cruel to ourselves and others in the face of suffering and instead be more graceful and caring. They are all trainings in attention…

If someone said to you, “Here’s something you can do to end the suffering of someone you love, a friend or family member, and it will only take 20 minutes each day,” we’d do it. But when we think of doing it for ourselves, we think it’s selfish, or we have too much to do. The irony is, doing it for ourselves is doing something for those we love. The choice requires a level of self-care and the willingness to commit.”

Have a WONDERFUL Monday!

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2 responses »

  1. Pingback: Suffering is optional… | Joyful Shimmy

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