In our efforts during unforeseen or painful times to find security, peace, and comfort, we frequently move too quickly or not at all. We want things to be the way they used to be and try to resurrect our past experiences.
While resting or not moving at all may be needed for a short time, what is more common, is moving too fast. We forget to slow down, pay attention, and notice that we have changed or that our circumstances are different.
We fall into resisting what is without awareness. This happens out of habit, and we make choices based on who we used to be without taking the time to discover who we have become.
We fail to notice how things are in that moment. Instead, we reach back into our memory for something familiar. This error often leads us down the road of suffering and making choices that are not for our highest good.
Our unhappiness persists because we refuse to risk the collapse of the familiar and instead try desperately to hold onto our false ideas and beliefs. This clinging will only lead to increased suffering.
You have probably already experienced what I am talking about and recognize that you only need to surrender to the truth of the moment. This is not always easy, as you know, and yet the faster we do it, the sooner our lives shift, improve, and balance returns. Often after these experiences, we recognize that our lives are better for what we went through. Therefore, slow down, take deep breaths literally, breathe in through your nose and out of your mouth when you find yourself struggling. Rest if you need too but take the time to self-reflect. Do self-inquiry and meditation, especially when things are going well. Because the more you are connected to your true nature, the easier it is to flow through difficult times. And remember, this too shall pass. Life itself knows how to bring about balance, and suffering is mitigated if you are flowing with it rather than resisting or trying to recreate the past.
Worrying, have you been able to escape it in your life so far? Probably not. The truth is if you have thoughts, then at some point in your life, you will experience worry. Why? Because that is where it originates. It indeed affects some of us more than others, but it’s something that we all encounter in our lives.
Has your worry ever affected your sleep, eating habits, or possibly even your health? How many times have you worried about something that never happened? More times than you remember, I suspect, because that is how cunning worry and the mind can be.
When we get caught by worry without awareness, we become trapped by it in our thoughts. The mind runs wild, and our imagination offers endless possibilities, most of which never turn out to happen. They are often negative in context and offer no solution, simply speculation.
So, what can we do about worry? The first thing is to understand it. If you don’t, how will you ever stop doing it?
All worry begins with an unsolicited thought. We have unsolicited thoughts all day long. Most of them go unnoticed. However, we can get caught at any moment by one of them. Once we do, we have identified with it, and it evolves into an inner conversation that we carry on with ourselves.
A conversation like this is seldom helpful. Most of the time, it is persistent and pointless. Rarely is it the truth. These false and exaggerated thoughts seed our worry, which can evolve into anxiety and fear for many.
Therefore, it is ideal to recognize when one of these thoughts arises and not identify with it. At first, we may not recognize the individual thought(s). Instead, we get grabbed in the conversation with ourselves. Yet, we will invariably become conscious of this conversation at some point. Once noticed, we can release our worry. Of course, this may take some practice. Remember, it is not about being perfect. You only need to notice what has happened before, during, or after it occurs. This recognition will eventually lead to the end of worry if done with regularity and kindness.
Your awareness is what notices these happenings. So, it is essential to strengthen it by noticing these thoughts and happenings. Once they are seen for what they are, a lie, exaggeration, or complete fabrication, they cannot cause you to worry. So, ask yourself, “Do I know this to be 100 percent true” any time during the experience. Practice this repeatedly, and it will lead you away from worry and back to peace.
Remember to be kind to yourself when you forget. New circumstances may show you that you still have more practice to do even though you were successful in the past. Awareness can always bring you back to your natural and peaceful nature. However, your thoughts and emotions may be used by your conditioned self to pull you back into worry. So, use your awareness to notice this and free yourself once again.
Do you know that everyone suffers at some point in their life? How about those who experience suffering their entire lives. You may not always see this suffering because many people are very good at hiding it, while others do not want anyone to know they are hurting. And, of course, it is easy to miss someone else’s suffering when we are amid our own. And yes, everyone’s level of suffering is different, but that does not make their suffering any less.
We experience suffering based on the specific situation and how we have been conditioned to navigate those situations. Therefore, what might be easy for one person can be extremely difficult or even impossible for someone else.
Notice how your endless thoughts trap you in their seductive and distracting ways, and your day passes by without a thought of the world’s suffering. They can even make you forget about your suffering or amplify it to an unbearable place, even a suicidal place.
Some think they will not suffer anymore if they can only reach a certain level of awakening or enlightenment. However, is this truth or wishful thinking on their part? How can it be avoided? We are, after all, feeling human beings no matter our understanding of our spiritual life and connection. The truth is that you can mitigate your suffering with greater awareness but rest assured that no matter how spiritually aware you are, you are still living the life of a human being too. Would you not feel the loss of a family member, a friend, or a beloved pet and perhaps suffer for some time? Indeed, these are situations that we all face and often create pain for us for varying degrees of time.
Of course, there are numerous types of suffering worldwide. For example, extreme suffering can be caused by war, illness, race, and famine. Have you suffered these or something else? Are you still suffering?
Know that every minute that goes by, millions of us suffer simultaneously. Therefore, know that you are not alone in your suffering. Do not be afraid to reach out when you need to and ask for help. Please do not ignore your suffering or resist it. Learn to feel the pain as best you can in the moment. Because when you do, it opens the door to transformation and healing. Otherwise, it becomes buried in the body, possibly impacting the rest of your life in some way, and it can even influence your health.
Moving through your suffering can be very challenging and require significant effort sometimes. Initially, we may not always be able to deal with things at first, which is okay. However, eventually, we must face our difficulties, without and within, if we ever want to heal and move on. Be more aware of what you might be ignoring or resisting, and never forget that you are not alone.
Challenging times can fundamentally change us; in fact, that is what they are meant to do. The only time they do not is when we resist what is happening and fail to remain present. They support the transcendence of our current identity and open us up to new possibilities, but only if we let them.
We will suffer to the extent that we resist what is happening. However, when we see these circumstances for what they are instead of what our thoughts tell us about them, we will gain a new perspective. With this new perspective, our suffering will be diminished, end much sooner, and for some, stop instantly with this awareness.
You do not want to end up being the same person you thought you were before these events took place. Otherwise, you will become more anchored into your conditioned self, leading to more pain.
Know this truth; peace is never found by those who try to avoid life’s difficult times. Without this recognition, you will only see your troubles as unfavorable. And while there may be truth in your troubles, your experience of that truth does not have to be dictated by your thoughts about it. You can rise above them, which means everyone can, not just others who do not have YOUR problems.
Therefore, do not miss any opportunity that a challenging time might bring to you. And yes, it may be hard at first. You may even think it is impossible because you get caught in your pain and fear of the experience. In these times, we do not want to look or forget to look for the positive. We get lost in our endless thoughts, which tell us a story about our suffering, perhaps even how justified we are to remain in it.
We can feel like there is no way out, and we will always feel the way we do now. If you are alive, I presume you have already felt this way, perhaps more than once; I know I have. So based on your past experiences, is it true that you will always feel this way, or there is no way out?
Are you feeling that way right now? And if you are, have you looked for something other than suffering from your experience? Pain can ease with time, but it will rise again unless you find a way to be present with it. Therefore, do not let your fear or thoughts get in the way of you looking for something other than pain. Perhaps you will find something positive, even life-changing, from your challenging experiences, but you will never know if you do not look.
When the mind is still, the heart opens. When the heart is open, love flows freely. When love flows freely, our oneness is revealed. When our oneness is revealed, all suffering ends. When all suffering ends, the search ends. When the search ends, we have awakened. When we have awakened, no thought can disturb us. When no thought can disturb us, our mind is still.
Healing takes many forms, and we have already consciously experienced this many times in our lives. And I can say with great certainty that everyone has or will heal on every level of life; however, you will not always be conscious of every healing experience. Most of you have already forgotten many more than you will remember. Many will agree that the experiences that leave the deepest impressions seem to be the ones that hurt the most.
There are various ways of healing, for example, the quick fix. We want something that will take away our pain quickly and easily. The perceived miracle, in truth, all healing is a miracle. Life itself is a miracle. Then there is the long-haul, which is that injury or illness that will not or does not seem to want to go away. The long haul has much to teach us if we are willing to listen.
We usually think of the more common types of healing, like physical or emotional, perhaps even mental. However, we could include spiritual healing, which has to do with the spirit or the soul, and holistic healing, which includes the body, mind, and spirit.
Now it can be easy to get confused or distracted on the healing path. What helps pave the way is slowing down, patience, and persistence for the more complex and challenging. Of course, many factors are unique to the one having the experience. Staying in the present moment, awake and aware, helps keep us from getting confused or distracted. However, if this happens, remember that’s okay. Once you wake up to it, move forward without criticizing yourself. It is common to falter in this way or fall into our emotions when dealing with something traumatic. There is power and healing by feeling our emotions fully.
Often, we give up, ignore, or resist what is genuinely happening out of a combination of fear, frustration, and anger. Of course, we can have many different feelings during this time, particularly when faced with a long-haul healing experience. Not viewing the reality of our current situation only leads to suffering and the inability to see a path forward.
Healing does not always happen in the way we want or expect. When this occurs, it does not mean that our healing is any less impactful. In fact, it is precisely what needs to happen, or it would not be happening. Therefore, it is essential to remain open to your experience even when things do not seem to go your way. Why? Because if we pay attention and remain open, we can find opportunities in the problems we face. I know that sometimes it does not feel that way, but I have seen it repeatedly.
It feels this way because you are stuck in resistance. Therefore, look for fear, frustration, or anger. Use your awareness to take an honest inventory of what you are feeling and thinking. What is your state, and where are your thoughts focused? Growth, healing, and change will present themselves in these situations. And grace is always present when we are in the moment with what is.
I have found that significant transformation comes during the most challenging times in our life. Verify this for yourself by looking back at your own life. Can you remember a difficult time, that after weathering the storm, you came out the other side better for it? Did you learn something about yourself, life, or others? Did you heal in some unexpected way?
So, it is those situations that we find uncomfortable or do not like that can offer us something life-changing if we are paying attention. Remaining open to possibility gives us the best chance for achieving our desired outcome. Without an open heart and a willingness to go through the tough stuff, we limit our possibilities, slow the healing process, and suffer more than is needed.
Long-term or long-haul challenges require an unbending intention. Many years ago, I injured my back at the age of 16 and then again more severely in my 20’s. After living in pain for years, a neurologist told me I would never get better. The doctors said I would live in pain for the rest of my life, and I would have to learn how to manage it. It was hard to hear for sure, but I would not be where I am today if I had adopted those words in my life as the truth. They set me on a path to healing and helping others heal because I did not take them as fact. That bad news ended up becoming an opportunity that changed my life for the better. Now 64, I have followed my unbending intention to heal for over 33 years. Because of this commitment, I continue to reap the rewards and have proved the doctors wrong. I cannot even begin to tell how much this journey has positively impacted every area of my life. Therefore, even if I had not become pain-free, it still would be a gift that keeps on giving in my life on every level.
Remember to have patience and take your time. I know when you are in pain, you want to be free from it now. So, we look for a quick fix, and then we move too fast. Or we fall into resistance. We try to ignore what is happening. We need to be honest with ourselves and face the truth of what is going on. We need to slow down. In these states, we stop listening to our intuition and divine guidance. We fail to do the proper research and make good choices. I understand that sometimes there are no other options, but you may miss something you need if you are moving too quickly. Be open to opportunities that may come in unexpected ways. And expect them to come! If you do not look for opportunities, how will you find them?
Remember that whatever is happening is happening, whether you like it or not. As hard as that may be to hear, feel or experience, it is the truth of your life. And when we face the truth of the moment, grace steps in and supports us. Life unfolds in new and different ways. Ways that we could not see before and we can experience joy and peace again in our life. Even when our desires are not fulfilled, we can still be happy and loving.
Over the last many years, I asked myself what sort of a person I would love to become. Always the answer as to the kind of person that I aspire to become has been the same one, every time I asked. And that was: I want to become someone who Loves. Plain and simple as that. I want to become someone who Loves. How may I go about this journey to become someone who Loves Tim? I am willing to learn, read, study, and do whatever it takes to become such a person. It’s one of my life’s greatest dreams and desires.
“If you want to be someone who loves, then be loving. What special training or study would you have to do to become loving? There is no magic bullet. Allow your actions, words, and deeds to be loving. And when they are not, be aware of that and make amends and then do better next time. This is the only true path.
Start by loving yourself as you are now, not how you want to be or think you should be. If you cannot do that, how can you be loving to others? How can you love them as they are?”