Life and painful experience go together like heads and tails go together
All of us have experienced painful feelings and all of us who continue to live will go on to experience more painful experiences. That is just so – it is simply what goes with being an exquisite sensory organism participating in the drama called life. If I use the analogy of a coin then life and painful experiences go together like the two sides of a coin; you can’t have a coin with only one side.
How do, you and I, in our ordinary way of living interpret and deal with our painful experiences?
How outraged would you be if you turned up at a disco and found loud music and flashing lights? Not at all, right? Why? Because you have the correct view, the correct understanding, of a disco. What happens when we painful experiences arise? How do we interpret them? How do we deal with them?
If you are like me then you want the pleasant (good)feelings and do your best to avoid the painful (bad) feelings. When the good feelings show up I want to hold on to them and not let them go – I / you want to be happy forever! Do we take the same attitude when painful experiences show up? No, we react, we struggle, we complain, we resist – we do our best to fix things and fix ourselves so that we can get it right the next time.
Isn’t it true that you, I, we, believe that there is a magic formula to get it right, to live a life of bliss? Don’t we secretly believe that if we can just act right, then will never encounter painful experiences only pleasant experiences? I’d say that is why self-help books sell in the millions and self-help gurus are wealthy.
There is a magic formula and I share that with you for free
Do you want to give up all the struggle that goes with finding that magic formula and fixing yourself? Would you rather have some ease, peace and grace in your living? Then here is the formula:
- Get that our painful experiences do not represent a flaw in us;
- Get that life is painful and difficult by its nature, not because you are doing it wrong;
- Accept, be with your painful experiences rather then resisting them – when you accept rather than resist you are present to the pain and let go of all the suffering you heap onto the pain and that is much lighter load to carry.
A personal experience
Conflict occurs as a painful experience for me – one of the most painful. You’d understand that if you had the kind of growing up experience that I had. So when conflict shows up I either dive into fixing the situation and/or flee so that I do not have to see it, hear it, experience it. Guess what shows up when you are member of a family of five people. you have deliberately bought up your kids to think for themselves and stand up for themselves; and each of the members of the family have different interests / characters and temperaments? Conflict.
What did I do about it? I tried my best to fix it. For example, the kids fought over the one home computer so I bought another one. They fought over these two, so I bought another one – today each of us our own computer. Did that stop the conflict? No. They started fighting about printers? So I thought I am to blame because they have to share a printer. So now each of the kids has their own printer. Did that stop the conflict? No.
Then one day I got it: conflict goes with family (and relationships) like loud music and flashing lights go with disco. That allowed me to let go of the position “It is all down to me, I brought the kids up badly, I am a bad father!” When I got that I stopped fixing things / people. Two things happened: the burden that I was carrying fell off and the kids got better at resolving their conflicts!
Question for you?
Are you willing to embrace life fully from the stand that painful experiences are just that painful experiences? They do not in any way indicate that you are ‘bad’, that you are flawed or that you are doing the wrong things. Are you wiling to accept that painful experiences are sign that you participating in the game called life. Are you willing to extend the same to our fellow human beings?