Yesterday in Year of Inquiry we continued this month’s topic….
….Other People’s Suffering.
This is a great trigger for so many people, and it certainly has been for me.
My kid falls down and breaks his wrist, and I wasn’t there, but when I find out about it on the phone, a cloud of wild adrenaline zings through me, my mind races into a fury….
….I should be there now!
Quick, emergency! Horrors!
I drop everything and scramble to get there ASAP, in this wild, frantic whirlwind of fear. Driving fast. Feeling guilty.
What about a moment sitting with someone you love dearly, and they begin to speak about their deepest fears, and perhaps cry, or express despair?
Several people in Year of Inquiry noticed this experience with mothers and fathers.
These influential people called parents….
….they are suffering.
Bam. I am suffering. The minute I think they are.
Again….there’s a feeling of emergency, or deep sorrow, or anxiety, or a compulsive movement to fix it, to be helpful.
A dear mentor of mine once shared that she sat at her father’s deathbed and he said “my life has been such a disappointment” and she couldn’t stop thinking of this for years after he died.
Someone else is upset, suffering, feeling horrible, suicidal, depressed, unhappy in life.
Immediately, these thoughts are stirred up within me:
- I have to do something…anything, to stop this.
- Life is dangerous.
- There is no clear way to solve this “problem”.
- This could get worse.
- I can’t handle this.
- This is terrible.
Who would you be without your worried or sad thoughts, in the presence of this person?
Who would I be without the belief that this person’s circumstances are truly terrible? Without the belief I have to DO something? Or that it could get worse?
What if I didn’t crunch in and believe so totally that I can’t handle this (or they can’t) or that this is a problem?
Strange indeed to not think of a broken wrist, or a very disappointed person, or death, or sadness as a terrible problem.
What if it wasn’t?
I notice all these things happen in reality….sadness, anger, disappointment, broken bones, illness, death.
Could it be possible to be with all these things, watch others go through these things, and NOT suffer?
Stunning to imagine.
“The primary thought is a thought of me. This thought of me, which is nothing but a thought, never could be anything but a thought or image. The me or I is constantly commenting on what is. Is it good?Is it bad? Do I like it? Do I disagree? Do I agree? How do I attain that? How do I get that? Or even…’I am enlightened’, or ‘I am not enlightened’. The thought is about the moment. The thought is about me, then my relationship with the moment. An imaginary character having and imaginary relationship with what is. It is called suffering….But without a thought, there is no commentator. Without thought, there can’t be a problem. Unless the mind comments on what is, and then creates a problem, there is none.” ~ Adyashanti
Even if you don’t “get” this entirely, and notice your mind has thoughts….
….what if even this was OK?
I turn the thoughts around about suffering:
- I have to do nothing.
- Life is safe.
- There is no problem, and no clear way to solve it anyway.
- This could get better.
- I can handle this.
- This is wonderful.
Could these not be just as true, or truer?
Is there anything else present, besides the commentator going on and on about what is?
So much is happening besides thought!
A great pulsating feeling of life, aliveness, sounds, sights, smells, touch. Wind chimes outside, mail truck driving by, heart beating, legs stretching, eyes gathering letters (reading) shadow and light forming on the wall outside, bustling life, a world alive and something here a part of this life force. A far greater expanse of awareness than whatever I see as “me”.
And in that past difficult situation, with a son who has a broken wrist, people were there to help, his father was present, emergency room doctors put on the cast, everything unrolled the way it does, and this “me” was not necessary.
Is it ever?
“The mind is a couple of degrees removed from what is immediate. But as soon as I come back to the immediacy of all this, how still it is, how pervasive it is. I am still, silent, pervasive.” ~ Ross Oldenstadt
Much love, Grace