From Suffering To Seeing

 “You suffer because you believe feeling sad or anything of the sort means there’s something wrong with you.”

This is what I heard within me after I had been chanting for several rounds. I labored with feeling what felt like unshakable sadness for three days. Immediately upon waking on the fourth day, I laid in bed with such desperation towards never having to experience sadness or anything associated with it ever again. I concluded I’ve done enough toiling on feeling my best for so long that honestly, this should be my last time experiencing it. Well… time is relative. There’s that. More to the point -why the urgent need to resist what is? 

On the fourth day, I tried using my thoughts to burst my way out of feeling sad and dissatisfied with my life. I was feeling that immovable, defiant, suppressed, resistive, saturated with nearly everything wrong about my life type of sadness. There was a feeling that nothing I’ve ever learned could come to aid me and pierce that impenetrable wall of suffering. I didn’t remember all the other times I’ve gotten through it. The only thing I was convinced of was there was something wrong with what I was experiencing. And of course for that entire time, I didn’t realize I was the one augmenting the flames with my own thoughts. 

It’s time we ask ourselves: “What could possibly be wrong with me if the very source of creation dwells within this life I am?”

 

When we feel a feeling opposite to that which is typically praised and often preferred -peace, joy, pleasure, or happiness for instance, we feel an inherent flaw within us. We feel like we should know better and be better than what we’re experiencing. The perception that something is inherently or even perceptually wrong with us cripples us beyond sensibility and poised presence. 

For three days I had been with the intermittent practice of taking my time and feeling everything fully and quite frankly, I was DONE! Compassion was absent. I wanted to arrive at feeling equanimous through it all. I wanted to be considerably less mangled by it. I wanted to return to gratitude but even that felt impossible and inauthentic. I wanted to feel the value of years worth of self-love and self-care efforts afforded to me in an instant. I wanted. I wanted. I wanted. I resisted accepting what was. 

I scanned my bedroom for something I thought might support me in accomplishing the goal of acceptance, and there it was -my mala beads. It was something I could touch, something that could accompany me, something that could help focus my attention, something that could hold my attention that’s just been fragmented by a belief that in fact was a lie. 

For each of us, I feel carrying the belief within us that there’s something wrong with us is the most debilitating thing we could ever experience. Perhaps it’s something external like the shape of our bodies or the lack of possessions we “own”. Perhaps it’s internal like not speaking in a manner that may be regarded as refined. We might desperately wonder how then can we be included, appreciated, valued, promoted or loved if someone else or others perceive us in this vain? When we’re met face to face with this belief as a living experience, it creates a stirring of urgency within us. We feel something requires fixing, or on the back end, abandoning -either for a time or for good. 

If one is debilitated by the perception of being flawed, it is only because others are perceived as others rather than sameness through shared experiences. We’ve held onto the narrative that the ones we perceive as “having made it” couldn’t possibly experience the level of crippledness that we do.  Subconsciously, we may be seeking to be perceived as being good, in an unbroken kind of way, in a valuable kind of way, in a lasting kind of way. How surprising it was for me to be met with the realization that I hadn’t entirely dissolved my conditioned need to be perceived as a valuable person. 

I was rushing to feel better, because I learned from young that feeling better was of a higher quality than feeling low. I was rushing to feel good because feeling good was valued and implied personal stability. I wanted to be the one known as the one who cracked the code on depression. I wanted to teach others how to do it through themselves. As I sit here and write this, I realize that’s also likely why I continue to experience it in the way that I do. I missed something valuable in the rushing. Likely several.

    • I missed the opportunity to provide myself with compassion, mainly for having learned and understood one way of being nearly my entire life, and allow it to be ok to feel what I was feeling.
    • Because I didn’t offer myself compassion, I wasn’t able to fully soften and simply be with what I was feeling.
    • Because I wasn’t fully being with what I was feeling, I missed the opportunity to see the truth of the actual experience.
    • Because I didn’t see the truth within the experience, I judged everything about it over and over and over again.
    • Because I was in judgement, I missed the opportunity to experience relief. I was perpetuating the suffering.
    • Because I was perpetuating the suffering, I was blind to the fact that I was the one sustaining it.
    • Because the suffering was sustained, I wasn’t settled in mind and body enough to consider what insight was available to me? What was there to learn about myself? 

After settling down bit by bit, more and more while chanting, I arrived at another choice point and it was to let go of my desire to be released from feeling compressed. I moved towards it instead. I was fully ready to visit with it. That’s likely why I gained that insight when I had:

“You suffer because you believe feeling sad or anything of the sort means there’s something wrong with you.”

I didn’t even need to ask myself If this was true for me. I know there isn’t anything wrong with me. And just like that, the suffering dissolved. In what felt like an instant, I knew I could be with sadness or any other compressed emotion and not feel an urgency to abandon it or myself. As I write this, I’m remembering that I called this experience to me. On several occasions, I recall asking the universe to show me how to (be with) sadness, grief, etc. Now that that’s been realized, I see that the ultimate role of the sadness, discontentment and frustration was one of support rather than dismantling. My perceiving has shifted.

Perhaps like a chrysalis, the pain and discomfort I felt was me expanding beyond an established form, a fixed reality, a valued or preferred standard, or even someone else’s “right” perception. 

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