|The Kripalu Center|
One of our instructors this week mentioned the basic Buddhist teaching that pain is inevitable but suffering is optional, and it suddenly summarized, for me, so many of the things I’ve been thinking about over the last twenty years or so. It said, so succinctly, that there will always be problems in my life, but the problems can be useful instead of destructive, friends instead of enemies. Whatever pain I might feel in the future, whether physical or emotional, will surely be pain, but it doesn’t have to be misery. It’s possible to face pain the way sailors face a fierce wind at sea – by accepting its inescapability, and then welcoming its potential as a teacher, maybe even as a friend who can find me new ways to be fully alive. Pain can prepare me to push up to the next level of living, where pain itself becomes a little less frightening and a little more enlightening. If I accept it and ask it to show me the way, pain can make me wiser rather than sadder, a learner instead of a sufferer.
Written at The Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health,
with Delycia for R+R
July 5, 2013