CAN WE SAVE OURSELVES?

This is a post about pain.  

It is about the counter-intuitive truth that the more you can let the pain in, the less you resist it, the more smoothly it eventually transforms itself into something else.  So when you can, open the floodgates and let the pain in, let it wash over you, feel every bit of it in your body, learn what it is teaching you, do not push it away.  (This is hard to do, but I have found it easier if I open those floodgates once I am already in a meditative state.)

It is also about the real truth that into everyone's life comes pain, comes suffering.  There is no amount of control or perfection that can protect you.  In some ways, I find this to be a real relief. It tells me that I am in pain or I am suffering because I am alive and human and that is just a part of the game of life; it's not because I am bad or did something wrong or someone else is bad or did something wrong–these types of conjecture only serves to create more layers of pain.  

The most skillful way to deal with pain is to accept its existence, receive its sharp insights and let it roll on through, careful not to block it as it also flows its way out.

Here is another way of saying this, from the eloquent Rumi translated by Coleman Barks...

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
 

JESSICA SNOWComment