What do you and I do with suffering? There is SO MUCH hurt, fear, and pain in the world. Even when my family, friends, and I are doing great, watching the news, reading the headlines, and so on brings me face to face with sorrow. It’s unavoidable. My bias is to ignore it, make a joke, or flee to a happy place. Lately, though, I’ve been getting a loud and clear message: Take in and feel the suffering in your heart.
Circling back, it seems to me since it’s inevitable for us all, how we handle pain is one of life’s big questions. Since it’s uncomfortable, when we experience hurt the easy answer is to transmit it to others via anger, frustration, shame, division, and so on. The more interesting option, though, is transforming the suck into the sweet. Pema Chödrön has inspired me in this regard with the practice of breathing in the unpleasant and unwanted, bringing it into and feeling it in our hearts, changing it into the pleasing, relieving, and enjoyable, and breathing this light back out.
This isn’t an instantaneous snap of the finger type of deal, but a bit by bit, breath by breath, moment by moment ongoing process of transformation. It’s everyday, practical magic! So, today I invite us to transform suffering. Whether it’s yours, mine, friends’, family’s, or beyond, breath it in, feel it, surround it with light and a smile, and breath out sweetness!
Grace and peace,