“There will always be suffering. But we must not suffer over the suffering.” Alan Watts
I’ve experienced some darkness of late, as we all do from time to time. It hasn’t been this dark in a while, though. Quite a while. It made me question everything. I mean, everything.
What hit me the hardest, though, is that I know so much about focus and how to keep myself out of the darkness (or so I thought) that I was furious with myself for letting it get to the depths of darkness that it did.
Alan Watts, profound insight guru that he was, gives us a glimpse into the best way to flow through our existence with this idea of not suffering over the suffering.
We will all experience situations that, from our limited perspective at the time, seem to create suffering for us. Far too often, we actually cause ourselves more grief by overthinking, overanalyzing, and resisting the situation.
We don’t want to suffer, so we push against what we think is causing the suffering.
What we push against actually gets stuck to us. When we say “no!” to something, we are inviting more of it in. Saying no to something isn’t just ignoring it. Other forms of resistance include “why me?!” and “I cannot believe this is happening again!” and “this wasn’t supposed to happen this way!”. Sneaky, right?
It can be so incredibly difficult to see that perspective when you’re in the throes of pain, and when you’re suffering from the suffering.
I know now (oh, hindsight, how you drive me insane) that I was creating more suffering because I actually wasn’t being the real me. I had allowed impatience to supercede my intuitive nudges and for the love of all that is holy that made me so angry! I know better!
Except, perhaps I didn’t know better yet. And that’s why this all happened. To show me how important my intuition really is and how when I don’t follow it, my body speaks up, loud and clear.
Panic attacks. High blood pressure.
My body was speaking to me in the usual “hey, Lady, you aren’t being true to yourself” ways, and I was ignoring it.
And then we wonder why the suffering seems so profound.
I realized, too, that I wasn’t even suffering over what the external situation was. It wasn’t even the situation itself that I was mourning. It was something much deeper. And in order to stand in my power, I had to own that.
So I reclaimed my power in these specific ways:
1. I allowed myself space.
Allowing myself the space to feel the hurt opened the way for me to gain this insight, and to be able to heal at the core. I had to be open to feeling the core in order to shift the perspective, which is all healing really is. We see our pain in a new light, we see the growth is had sparked for us, and we are able to, with some deep breaths and a positive spin, thank the pain. For without it, we would not know ourselves as intimately as we know do.
2. I felt and expressed gratitude.
In my particular situation, being thankful that someone else had the wisdom to help me move out of the situation even when I was steadfast on staying in the pain and trying to fix what was wrong, rather than do the best thing for myself, which was to honor what was right - even if that meant moving out of the situation altogether.
3. I remembered that everything happens for me.
It took time for me to work through the muck of guilt and shame and questioning my every move. I was so very hard on myself. I had to continually remind myself that while I am a teacher, I am human too. And it is the willingness to dive so deeply into this human experience and learn from it that allows me to be the light that others need. That perspective in and of itself allowed me to ease up on myself, and it lent directly to what I believe with all my being: that everything truly does happen FOR us. Our job is to trust that, and allow the Universe to show us how it’s happening for us - how everything is rigged in our favor.
And this is why it’s so very important to own the darkness. The secret is, it’s all light. It’s all meant for our good.
If we own it in the sense that we acknowledge its existence, allow it to pass through us and teach us what it needs to, we then become alchemists we truly are and transform the pain, the darkness, back into light.
If you are suffering, you are not alone. Please reach out to a trusted friend who will help you see that there is light within the darkness. And, I am here, too. Feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With love and light,