Monday, September 5, 2011

No Pain - No Gain

The path toward enlightenment seems, when looking forward, to be something wonderful, peaceful and at times even blissful. We usually end up on this road when our lives have become unmanageable, unhappy, stressful. Our relationship disintegrates, we lose our job or business, our children have become unruly and we can’t seem to get control of anything.

We find ourselves thinking, “There has to be a better way.” And the reason we think this is because we don’t want to feel the pain and suffering that our current life is serving up.

We find this idealic situation, a new way to understand life, to find our happy place and live there day in and day out. We work hard at it and we push aside any ideas or beliefs of suffering, unhappiness, depression, guilt, shame, and anger.

Eventually though, we find that things are not as happy and peaceful as we thought they would be. It is hard to keep all those “negative” emotions out of the mix. Day to day life unfolds and so do the many emotions that it can bring up.

And in the very direction we thought we’d find the answer to the perfect life, we still feel struggle. We throw up our hands in disgust and wonder why it isn’t working.

It isn’t working because we are not being honest with ourselves. We are pretending that life is a joyful, peaceful, wonderful journey but we don’t’ really believe it. We are still hurting and the effort it takes to keep that hurt from rising up and, we think, destroying us is exhausting.

Here’s the thing – it’s not about being happy, peaceful and loving ALL the time. Yes, we want to get to the place in our lives when we can feel all of these wonderful emotions. But if we don’t move aside all the nastiness to allow the space to connect with these amazing feelings of bliss, it’s just not going to be authentic.

Authenticity is where it’s at and you don’t get there without feeling some pain. It’s as simple as that. If you want to feel truthfully joyful, content and loving, then, instead of pushing away the fear, hate, anger, guilt and shame, you’ve got to feel it, let it wash over you like a cleansing wave – go with the flow, allow yourself to be fully present with every emotion, the pain as well as the love.

The fear is that if we allow this to happen we will be crushed, annihilated, destroyed. But what really happens is that, like the world after a huge storm, there is a quality of freshness, a clarity that you’ve not known in a long time. And from this place comes your authentic, loving, peaceful self – accepting, compassionate and calm.

Ahhhh, that feels better.

With loving and kindness

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