The overwhelming grief cracked me open, and my love for this person began pouring out. Then I noticed when I was ready that love began filling the cracks. I saw beauty in these cracks because they reminded me of my love for this person and our time together.
Then the love that helped me grieve began to nudge me forward. And I began living again because I fully felt my loss and faced the truth as I knew it. Their presence and body were gone, but my love for them and all the memories will never cease.
Remember, our grief is an expression of loving someone deeply. Please do not mistake it for weakness or feel ashamed of what you are experiencing and expressing. Instead, see it for what it is and feel everything you need to because doing anything less will feel incomplete.
I woke up at 5 am yesterday. Usually, when this happens, I cannot fall asleep again; I will toss and turn until I get up. However, this time I fell back asleep. I know because I had a dream with a message. Although I cannot remember the entire dream, the ending stuck with me even after waking up.
I saw this person and knew I needed to say something to them. I sensed they did not believe they could heal. I walked up to them, rested my hand on their shoulder, and said, how do you know you cannot heal? I could see them thinking and searching for an answer to my question without results.
I then said if you believe you cannot heal, your chances of healing decline. And going through the experience will be much more challenging, and you will suffer more because of this belief.
However, your odds increase if you believe you can heal. While this will not guarantee that you will heal, it puts you on a different path. And your experience on this path will be more manageable, if not all the time, most of it. But do not forget, we are all allowed to feel and experience what we need to feel and experience. No pretenses, only experiencing the truth of your journey in each moment.
Now please remember that a belief is very different from a wish. You can wish to heal and still have a belief that it is not possible. Therefore, you must look at how you think about your experience closely to confirm that it is your belief and not just a wish. Otherwise, there will be resistance to the experience, and you will suffer more.
Remember, you can never successfully resist what is happening in your life. You can undoubtedly postpone or ignore it, but that is only temporary. Life unfolds as it will. Yes, we have choices, but we must recognize that we ultimately do not control life. Whatever happens, is happening. It happens even if we do not like the experience or want to overlook it.
Remember, the random thoughts that appear are not necessarily the truth and must be examined. Ask yourself this essential and helpful question, do I know this thought is one-hundred percent true?
If you get lost in thought again, that is okay. Just bring your attention back to observing your thoughts and ask the question again. Do I know this thought to be one-hundred percent true? Repeatedly doing this will change your experience. Do not let your mind agree with me here, and move on too quickly from this point. The mind pretends to be an authority over you; however, you can and should question it. Know that you do not have to believe everything your thoughts say, that you can observe them and examine them.
So put it into practice and see for yourself what happens. Perhaps what you perceive to be your worst experience in life will someday be seen as a gift. There are several things throughout my life I could say this about; for example, my alcoholism and back injury, to name just two. Perhaps you already have something you can now see in hindsight that was not easy, and it turned out to be one of life’s greatest gifts to you.
Why do we feel it is all or nothing in our lives, this country, and worldwide? Are you aware of this behavior in yourself? Living this way always leads to disappointment and, indeed, suffering. This behavior has carried over into our politics and is one of the reasons why things are the way they are today. You think it is because of what the other person believes; it is their issue. They are wrong, and I am right. Well, that is simply not true.
Just look around; you will see this behavior everywhere. It is certainly not hidden, but it is often overlooked. Of course, it is always easier to see it in someone else, but we must see it in ourselves; otherwise, nothing will change.
We are righteous in our beliefs, and the truth in our righteousness is that our beliefs are deceiving us. It is my way or the highway, my way is right, and your way is wrong, so we must do it my way. When we have such a narrow view of an issue and the world, it only causes discord and suffering.
Peace will only come when we work together and are willing to compromise. We must take the time to see each other’s points of view, but just seeing it does not go far enough. We must understand the importance and value it holds for the one who believes it. When we discount it without examination or contemplation, we invalidate the other person’s feelings and beliefs. We have all experienced this feeling. Think about a time when someone did that to you and remember how it felt.
When we can move away from being so focused on our all-or-nothing attitudes, we can create solutions; instead of gridlock. We will suffer less and move towards peace in ourselves, this country, and the world. This may seem like a tall order, especially if we wait for the other person to do it first. You must be willing to be the first to do it. Do it for yourself, your children, and grandchildren, and do not wait for anyone else, or it will never happen. The question is, will you?
Remember, there have always been conflicting beliefs from the beginning of time. However, conflicting beliefs do not have to lead to conflict if both parties remain open to the other person’s point of view and are willing to work towards a compromise. We must leave our all-or-nothing attitudes behind and come together, work together like the pieces of a puzzle. We must come together in unity rather than falling further and further apart.
The truth is if you take yourself with all your difficulties, pain, anxiety, and suffering to the park one day, you might be surprised to see how much joy abounds there in others.
Your mind will say, but they do not have my problems. And while you listen to your mind tell you this, your anxiety increases, and you begin to suffer even more. You ask yourself, why can’t I experience joy like that? Well, you can if you stop listening to the mind as an all-knowing source.
If you only concentrate on your pain, that is all you will find. Try concentrating on what feels good. Sometimes even noticing a slight difference can change your outlook. For instance, when you are in physical pain, a slight deviation from level 10 to level 8 is a difference in the right direction, even if only temporary. However, we often overlook this difference and see things as the same even though they have changed. Once you notice these differences, you can find hope again and start moving your attention in a new direction.
Do not forget life is a contradiction. Look at any moment, and with a bit of clarity, you can see that all “states of being” exist simultaneously in this world. Even if you feel you are only experiencing part of them, that does not mean the others do not exist. You can redirect your attention toward something different at any moment in your life.
Now I am not saying that you should not feel your feelings or that you should not look at the truth of your life. You can do that and at the same time direct your attention towards that which brings you joy.
Never forget to lean into your blessings no matter how small they seem. The fact that you are alive and able to watch the sunrise and set is a wondrous gift, even if your mind says otherwise.
Have you forgotten this amid your difficulties, pain, anxiety, and suffering?
I guarantee you that no matter how much your mind tells you that you have the right to suffer or complain, you also have every right to feel joy. You do not have to believe everything your mind says to you. I can assure you that it is constantly lying about or exaggerating your circumstances. Therefore, when the pain in your body or life speaks up loudly, or some person says something that causes you frustration or anger, witness what your mind starts telling you first. Notice that it tells you how bad things are or how wrong that person is. And then, instead of taking up a conversation in agreement with it, look deeper within. Remember that you have the power to redirect your attention and begin to focus that attention on what feels good or brings you joy. Perhaps you feel that is too much at first, but I am sure that thought came from your mind and is not the truth. Find the smallest of cracks because “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” ― Leonard Cohen.
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.
Much of your life is spent thinking; even when you wish it would stop, it doesn’t, does it? We tend to think about how we feel too, which, of course, is not feeling at all — it’s thinking.
Through thought, our mind tells us that it is too uncomfortable to feel our feelings. We then get caught in a loop of thought about how painful we feel without ever really exploring our feelings. We can even have body sensations that confirm our thoughts about it. This tendency of the mind leads us down an exhaustive path of pain and suffering.
The truth is we must begin to notice this ploy of the mind to break free of it and then feel our feelings fully. However uncomfortable that may be—resisting them leads to a much lengthier healing process and an increased level of suffering.
Feelings are energy, and as such, they must keep flowing. Resisting them means we hold onto them, and the energy gets stuck in our body, which can cause physical pain and even illness.
Recognizing this truth or knowing it on an intellectual level is not enough; you must have a direct experience to embody this truth. We often end up stopping short on the spiritual path and in life of realizing this because the mind tells us that we know it already, whatever it is. Then we get distracted by thought again and sent down another path without ever having a direct experience. The mind has endless offers to distract us, and many of us can spend our whole life seeking and not finding. How many years or decades have you been looking?
Therefore, the next time you find yourself suffering, notice if you are in your head and having a conversation with yourself. Bring your attention down to your chest, the heart area, and notice that your thoughts begin to slow down. Then focus even more attention there and begin to feel your feelings. They literally are your friend and not something to fear. Know that the mind will try to stop you through thought, physical sensation, and intensity.
Be with your feelings, let whatever needs to arise, and let the energy flow again—knowing that you are entirely safe. Some of you may feel the energy flowing along with the emotion, and some may not. Either way is perfect. Do not let the mind come in and question whether you are doing it right or not; it is just another distraction. Keep your attention in the chest. If you are guided by the feeling to another part of the body, follow it. Just stay with your feelings and keep breathing. If it feels too overwhelming, you have the power to slow it down or stop it at any time.
The mind may tell you otherwise, but I can assure you this is the most loving thing you can do for yourself and your body. You are the only one who can offer yourself this kind of unconditional love. We have all felt someone’s love for us being taken away before because it was not unconditional. However, once you feel this kind of self-love, you will know it can never be taken away by anyone. Therefore, do not be afraid to feel your feelings because what is often disguised as pain can blossom into something beautiful if you let it.
“We see space as what separates us from everyone and everything. But what if space is what holds everything together; what if it connects everything.
Know that sometimes what we believe to be true is not the truth at all. What is true is that if we never question our beliefs, then our misguiding beliefs are sure to create pain and suffering in our lives. So whether you believe that space is what separates us or connects us, we must begin to question our beliefs. Inquiry at this level always leads to a greater understanding of who we are and the world around us—bringing more peace and comfort into our lives and those lives that we touch.”
Are you feeling frustrated because things are not going the way you want in life? Perhaps you are looking for a job, relationship, or you have a desire that will not manifest. Maybe your fearful of all that is happening in the world today.
Do you know what the root cause of your disturbance is? Does your mind immediately tell you that it is another person, outside circumstances that cause it, or maybe it is something you perceive to be out of your control, like covid19 or something personal like your age?
Have you noticed that all these reasons that show up in the mind are entirely unsolicited? They do not come from critical thinking; they just show up spontaneously. What would happen if you did not immediately identify with these thoughts? Would your life unfold differently if they never appeared?
Let me answer that last question for you; yes, it would be very different because your thoughts would no longer be in control of guiding your life. You would be free from doing things in the same conditioned way you do them now, and you would have a stronger connection to your intuition. You would be free from frustration and worry, or it would be significantly minimized. You would have more energy, and your life would change in many unexpected ways.
The question is, how do we take our power back. I can offer you a simple process that works. It may feel challenging at first because we are unconsciously habituated to listening to and identifying with our thoughts without question. The extent of this varies for each of us. But we have been doing it for years, if not decades, so do not think that you are the one person not impacted by it.
Most of us will make gradual progress over time rather than giants leaps or the expected instant gratification the ego wants. Our progress is based on our ability to connect with greater awareness and then bring this awareness into our experience, which may feel uncomfortable at first. Particularly for some people, they notice the volume of unsolicited and negative thoughts; previously unseen is much greater than expected. Many of these thoughts can sound ridiculous once we start to pay attention to them.
So, what is this simple process? It is the observation of your thoughts, feelings, and body sensations that arise from them. When we can observe them occurring, without identification, we create some space or freedom from them. The mistake many make is trying to stop them consciously. You will only find yourself identifying with them more, a subtle trick of the mind to distract you.
When we no longer perceive ourselves as the thought, we notice that all thoughts come and go, just as everything does in personhood. This is an essential recognition because we often begin to THINK that uncomfortable circumstances will last forever. Our thoughts reinforce this misunderstanding. You can verify this by looking at past experiences. By having this erroneous perception, we begin to experience frustration, anxiety, fear and worry. We begin to have pointless conversations with ourselves in the mind that reinforce this story and keeping us stuck. We can no longer see a way out, which causes tremendous suffering. Suffering that is unwanted and unnecessary. The desire to not have this experience can intensify our suffering because we now have conversations about how bad it is, so the cycle persists.
We must regain command of the mind, our thoughts, and feelings if we ever want to be free from suffering. Therefore, I offer you this simple and effective way to begin breaking the habit of the cause of your suffering. Begin today, observing your thoughts and any feelings that arise as often as you can. Notice when you get pulled into a conversation with the mind and question if it is essential. Are there body sensations that clue you into being caught by the mind? Notice and see. Bring more awareness into watching this unfold in your daily life, and I guarantee that you will begin to see how much time is wasted being dragged around from one meaningless thought to another by the mind. Feelings arise from these thoughts, and cause disturbances in the body, pay attention.
With some attention and awareness, a little practice, and some time, you will begin to master this innate ability, and your life will change. You will experience more peace, suffer less over things that do not need your attention, and find your way back to the present moment.