Suffering Brings Happiness?

Good morning! Here I am with another quote from Thich Nhat Hanh’s book, The Art of Communication. The title of this blog is also the title of one section…though I added the question mark. The chapter answers my question of course and the passage below is a beautiful summary of his teaching.

Please breathe this in and be willing to sit with what he is saying. What we breathe into and embrace diminishes our resistance and makes life easier, more gentle and loving.

We all should learn to embrace our own suffering, to listen to it deeply, and to have a deep look into its nature. In doing so, we allow the energy of love and compassion to be born. When the energy of compassion is born, right away we suffer less, when we have compassion for ourselves, we can more easily understand the suffering of another person and of the world. Then our communication with others will be based on the desire to understand rather than the desire to prove ourselves right or make ourselves feel better.

I also believe that this level of understanding allows me to support others as they deal with their suffering. That support may at times be material but, most of the time, it is most powerful if I support another in their journey of embracing and understanding their suffering so that they develop compassion for themselves. This allows them to expand more fully into True Self, transcending definitions and expectations of what life “should” be.

Be blessed today, dear hearts, for you are loved.

Life Is What It Is

Life is what it is … most often it is people who confuse and perplex me. I can become hurt and angry, hopping mad we used to call it, so I get it. Meanness is something uniquely human and, though I see it and I know it exists, it is something I do not relate to on a personal level.

Currently I am reading Gandhi’s autobiography and the quote below resonates so deeply within my being that I want to share it this morning. Having been on the receiving end of people elevating themselves by demeaning me, I learned at a very young age what it feels like. It is a behavior that mystifies me. The things I have experienced cannot compare to the suffering of those who are treated as “less than” simply because they exist.

May our hearts and minds be open to our own attitudes and behaviors with regard to those we are angry with, those who have hurt us, those we do not understand or agree with, those simply different than us. May we be a force of love, peace, and compassion in a world torn by the differences of its people. May we find ways, no matter how small, to bridge the gaps of misunderstanding so that our differences create a collage of peace rather than a map for turmoil and war. May we spend our energy, time, and money supporting the ways and means that inspire and support us in creating a world that respects and honors its own diversity.

GANDHI:

“It has always been a mystery to me how men can feel themselves honoured by the humiliation of their fellow beings.”

Excerpt From: M. K. Gandhi & Mahadev Desai. “An Autobiography.” The Floating Press. iBooks.
This material may be protected by copyright.

 

I Can Fly

It all began about a year and a half ago when my granddaughter was about 18 months old. She would launch herself into the air and, when she landed, hurt herself. Alone with her one day, I caught her before she could do that and asked her if she thought she could fly.  She smiled broadly and looked into my eyes and said, “Gama! I can fly!”  I pulled her gently onto my lap facing me and looked into her eyes. I told her that, when I was a very little girl, I also thought I could fly.  Then I explained to her that, when we come into these physical bodies, our ability to fly is limited. I also told her that there are master teachers who might be able to train her to fly but they were not easy to find in this world. Then I gently said, “Remember? Every time you try to fly, you hurt yourself, don’t you?” She nodded then leaned into my chest. I pulled her gently to myself and whispered in her ear, “For now, sweetheart, please stop trying to fly. I don’t want you to hurt yourself anymore.”  She didn’t say anything; she just snuggled more closely to me and we sat for a few moments. She has not tried to fly since.

She is almost 3 now and beginning to experience intense emotions like frustration and anger. Her strong, loving parents are working with her with deep compassion to teach her how to process these strong emotions and still be true to the sweet,  tender soul that she is. In walking meditation last week I remembered a song that I loved and that touched my heart and mind in a very powerful way during a difficult time of my life. I decided I would share it with her on our next alone time together and begin to teach her  that one of the ways we can fly free is in our meditation times.  When I meditate, I fly free of ego, desire, and resistance to life in this world as it is in the moment.

The next day she came over for time with me. I told her that we could use our imagination while we’re being very quiet and fly! We sat on my bed with our legs extended and her sitting between mine, our hearts facing outward. I took her hands and arms into my hands and began to softly sing the parts of the song that I could remember. I invited her to imagine that we were flying through the sky like birds. Then she wanted to get down and sing the song some more while we held our arms out and softly swayed around the room pretending we could fly. The game extended into having stuffed animals fly with us and she laughed and twirled and felt the freedom I wanted her to feel.

Yesterday when she came over I realized I could download the song and she could hear the whole thing with me. The song is “I believe I Can Fly,” recorded by R. Kelly. Oh, we had a glorious time!

Later, as I looked back over the morning with her and remember the joy of that time, I realized how powerful that song is and felt deeply grateful that I had downloaded it. This morning, aware of the inauguration and the conflicting emotions among my brothers and sisters in this country, I decided I would offer those I have contact with a suggestion:

Please go to iTunes and down download (less than $2) R. Kelly’s recording of “I Believe I Can Fly.”  Listen to it today…maybe more than once…and keep it handy to listen to often.

For those feeling anxious and worried, may this soothe your mind and heart and bring up the lightness of the love and peace of your Soul. May you understand that today does not change the Truth of Who You Are.

For those of you feeling elated and sure you have won, may this inspire you to come from a place of compassion and to seek common ground with those who see things differently than you do.

May we all remember that we are Divinely Loved and that true unity and wholeness requires diversity along with compassion and respect for one another.

 

Today Is A Gift

Today is a gift. Please unwrap it gently and open your mind and heart to its many aspects and layers. May you experience this gift with grace, peace,  understanding, and joy. May you be a blessing to each person you encounter for you are sharing that moment with a brother or a sister.  May you  openly and lovingly receive the blessing each person brings to you.  And me these mutual blessings radiate out to our world.

Namaste.

It Is What It Is

From “Desiderata” by Max Ehrmann:

 As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

There are times when I reach out to another from a place of sensitivity and compassion only to be met with defensiveness and resentment. In the first moments of this response, I am wounded and begin to wonder how I have wounded this person, often a loved one. I know my intention was clear as I sought to share love so did I express myself that poorly?

Then this quote comes to mind and heart. I keep a wall hanging in my home of “Desiderata” because for fifty years its wisdom has taught me, guided me, and soothed my heart and soul. My truth is that my intention was one of love and I know that I can only be who I am in any given moment. The response probably had absolutely nothing to do with me.

So, I take another line from Max Ehrmann:

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, & remember what peace there may be in silence.

I enter into the silence within, remembering that I can only be at peace with another person if they allow it. When that doesn’t happen, I turn into the peace of my Soul and know that it is what it is. I surrender to the moment and choose healing and peace over woundedness. In these moments of silence and surrender, I find the ability, the love for myself, that allows me to “go placidly amid the noise and haste” produced by the turmoil of another’s heart and mind.

Yes, there is some sadness and I embrace that as part of this oh-so-human experience. In the silence even the sadness feels different and soon dissipates. Life is what it is and each person’s path is unique and sacred. I honor my own path and, in surrendering any need to teach, help, or fix, I honor the paths of others.

Be blessed today for you are Divinely, eternally, unconditionally loved. Namaste.

What Ahimsa (Do No Harm) Doesn’t Mean

As many of you know, Ahimsa or Do No Violence/Harm is a fundamental principle of yoga and meditation. This morning I am feeling a different aspect of this divine legacy.

In order to live my Truth so that I am not harming myself, I will at times make decisions that upset other people. It isn’t my desire to do that and yet it can happen. I may be told that I have hurt another and that person may truly feel hurt or angry with me. My response must come from love and compassion rather than defensive righteousness and yet I must remain true to my path, my guidance. I must also allow the other person their feelings.

There are times when my tender understanding can ease another’s suffering though I may not be able to alleviate the source of it. When the reaction of another is frustration and anger because I am behaving in a way that they cannot relate to or that they cannot control, it is not helpful for me to plead my case or try to make that person feel better. I must honor their journey and allow them to experience their own discomfort. Most often this is what stimulates us to expand our understanding and to grow.

Compassion does not require me to take responsibility for another person’s journey. It does require me to be faithful to mine with an awareness of the sensitivity or suffering of another so that I do so with wisdom and understanding. Divine Love will allow me to be frustrated and to suffer when I am beating my head against a wall of my own making. It is my responsibility to become willing to see that wall and then be willing to tear it down. I must allow others to do the same.

The only spiritual journey I am able to walk is my own. Wisdom and understanding call me to follow the teachings and guidance of the Masters so that my journey shows compassion for myself and others. If I try too hard to help another person feel better, I may be interfering with Divine Grace in their life.

Live with awareness and love today, dear hearts.