I have been reflecting on how I’ve handled my experiences of pain, suffering and hardship in life and what lessons I would like to offer to others:
1) Feel Your Feelings
Do not numb yourself to your emotions. Let them move through you. Work on you. Shape you.
See depression as a cleanse.
See failures as temporary mistakes on your quest in learning how to enable your Soul to Soar and your Heart to Sing.
“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.” ― Eric Thomas
2) Don’t Lower Your Standards
Don’t let the pain of your disappointments lower your standards or ambitions.
Your deepest desires are unshakably true. Never give up on pursuing their fulfillment.
“True desire in the heart for anything good is God’s proof to you sent beforehand to indicate that it’s yours already,” – Denzel Washington
3) Practice Self-Responsibility, Forgiveness and Compassion
Self-Responsibility. When things go wrong in your life, start by looking at yourself and inquiring into what you could have done better. Don’t be a victim. At a fundamental level almost anyone who harmed you, you let them in your life. And if there was a fundamental misalignment between the two of you, you only chose that person because you hadn’t yet sufficiently learned that lesson.
Forgiveness. Holding onto resentment and anger is an emotional poison that only hurts yourself.
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned – Gautama Buddha
Compassion. Understand that people aren’t evil. They have their own traumas and deficiencies, and most people really are trying to do the best they can. Do not morally vilify people for their incapacity. But do raise your standards. And even if you are hurt by people, you can still unconditionally love them through their own growth experience. All human Souls are evolving back up towards the Divine Light of God. But sometimes some of them get stuck, and forget who they are and forget that we are all Ultimately One. Help them remember. Even when they hurt you.
4) Fear is an Illusion
“There is nothing to fear but fear itself.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Fear fundamentally arises from a false illusion of separateness from the totality of being. Death is an illusion. The personality dies but the soul lives on and is always learning, growing and progressing. Learning to rewire your identity to the whole of the cosmos and your agency to the timeless depth of your soul is one of the most powerful spiritual transformations you can have.
5) Pain is Inevitable in Life but Suffering is a Choice
Whether life phenomena are experienced as mere pain sensation arising in the field of awareness, or instead as unbearable suffering is a matter of learnable perspective.
In essence, this is a summary of the 4 Noble Truths of Buddhism.
I’ve seen them well summarized like this:
i. Suffering, unsatisfactoriness, dissatisfaction, disappointment, illusion and confusion are an inescapable part of life.
ii. There is a root cause for these.
iii. There is a way to work with and eventually remove this cause.
iv. There is a practical method for doing so accessible to anyone willing to apply themselves.
Every human can find their own meditative path of Awakening, if they would like to be free of suffering, experience Ultimate Liberation, the flourishing of all positive states and an inextricable feeling of meaning, purpose and connectedness.
If you have had glimpses of these Higher States of Consciousness, which almost everyone has, know that they are Real.
Have faith that you can access them all the time. And that if you find the right teacher and set of practices and lineages aligned for your personality and soul, you can have access to these deeper truths of Reality all the time.
The Great Spiritual Saints, Sages and Mystics of Human History are not wrong.
In fact, they are more right than the small you could ever know.
Also published on Medium.