by Lisa Lewtan
Mass shootings. Natural disasters. Death. Accidents. Terrorism. Political unrest. Heath. Safety. Money. Relationships….
There is so much intensity in the air right now.
Intensity that rips our hearts open with fear.
How can we cope?
How can we make the world feel safe?
The problem is that we can’t. We can not prevent bad things from happening to us. We can not prevent loss, grief, pain, fear, or even the weather.
Buddha said “Pain is inevitable but Suffering is optional". What did he mean by that?
I interpret this in such a way that we most definitely will have pain in our lives. We have no control over that. But we do have control over HOW we deal with the pain. And this relates directly to how much suffering we have in our lives.
Face it, we all have a strong desire for certainty, for predictability, and for order.
We want to know that things are going to go the way we have planned them out. We don’t want to hang out in that scary place where we don’t have control of everything.
There is, however, only ONE thing that we can do in this situation.
No… not drugs.
No...not hide for the rest of your life.
Though these all might feel like awesome options, they are all just distractions from what we are truly feeling.
I get it. We live in a society full of distractions. “I don’t want to feel the pain, so I’m going to have a cocktail” or “I’m going to take some medication” or “I’m going to go eat” or “I’m going to do just about anything, anything other than feel the pain.”
So, instead, I have another option for you… and it may feel radical.
I recommend that you feel every little ounce of pain. Resist the urge to run away and distract. Instead, sit down and be with the pain. Learn from it. Grow from it. Ache with it. Cry. Notice how it feels in your body. Bring it on.
When we can sit with our fear/pain/sadness and really feel it, absorb it, take it all in and STAY in the present moment- the intensity WILL pass through our body. It comes in waves and waves pass.
We can then notice, that in that present moment, we can be OK.
When we are thinking in the future all the time, we get anxious. When we focus on the past all the time, we tend to get sad. In the present - the right here right now- we are OK. And that is the best we can do.
Meditation is a good tool to teach us how to come back to the present. Meditation teaches us to observe our thoughts, not get stuck in them, and bring them back again to the now. Usually, in this one second of NOW, things are bearable and we get a break.
When we don’t deal with that pain or fear it all goes inside our bodies and festers.
A wise person once taught me the mantra “All we have is this moment”. This mantra got me through numerous painful events in my own life and I am happy to share it with you.
Rather than hiding and distracting from life, we need to learn how to mourn people. We need to learn to mourn situations. We have losses all the time even in good times.
For example, when moving to a new home there is still a loss of leaving the memories of the old home. There’s still a loss even if you get a great, new job. There’s a loss of leaving the certainty of everything behind. Uncertainty is just about the ONLY thing that is certain!
All of these are opportunities to turn inward and balance our crazy outer worlds with the safety of a peaceful inner world. It takes time and practice but it is economical, portable, and safe.
This I know for certain.