What is suffering?

The space between the direct experience of life, and our conceptualization of that experience is where suffering has the opportunity to take hold.

It is always our choice in each and every moment, how we choose to experience life. What do we give meaning to? How do we interpret the world around us? What stories do we tell ourselves – and believe? How we make sense of our world, determines the extent of our suffering.  As Michael A Singer reminds us, ‘The mind can be a dangerous place or a great gift’. 

Calling in our less pretty parts of self 

The suffering can feel very real – the pain, the fight, the desperation, the stuckness, the lost feeling, the victim consciousness. It’s where our shadow parts of self make themselves seen, and it can be difficult to avoid their uncomfortable presence. They show up as resistance to accepting the fullness of life. When we can acknowledge, and re-integrate without indulging in these less pretty parts of self, we get the learning, and can move on.

Radical acceptance as the antidote to suffering

Accepting reality as it unfolds for us, invites the direct experience in  (rather than the interpretation of what is being presented). Acceptance interrupts the potential for suffering to make itself at home in the mental chatter of the mind. Instead, accepting the moment in its entirety relies on an openness and softness within the mind and body, and from here, a doorway is made available into surrender, and compassion.

How might we explore acceptance…

1. Anchoring where we live within the body through the breath. Allow the breath to take your focus to the belly area, live here. Noticing when you relocate to the head how differently this feels. The sensation of head-based living has an entirely different orientation to the belly. Notice the difference in connection v separation;  objectivity v subjectivity; groundedness v top-heavyness.

2. Opening/Closing your heart by bringing conscious attention to when and what causes you to close your heart throughout the day. How are you handling the reality being presented to you in the moment? Consciously coming back to opening the heart, through the breath, through HRV training, and through focused attention.

3. Expansion through inclusivity – can you let more of life in? Where are you harsh on yourself, and others? Where do your boundaries start and stop? Can you be more inclusive of other’s opinions, beliefs, and behavior without judgment in order to allow more of you to open up to your own possibilities, and potential.