“I WANT TO BEG YOU as much as you can to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves.
Do not seek answers which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything.
Love the questions now. Perhaps you will gradually, without noticing it, live alone some distant day into the answer.
Take whatever comes with great trust, and if only it comes out of your own will, out of some need of your innermost being, take it upon yourself.”
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
In a teaching — the four noble truths — the Buddha addresses the concept of suffering. The first of these truths says that it’s part of being human to feel discomfort. Nothing at essence is firmly one way or the other (good or bad, light or dark, big or small, etc.). All around us the elements (air, fire, earth, and water), are always taking on different qualities; they’re like magicians. We change as fast as the elements. We ebb and flow like the tides, we wax and wane like the moon. We are fluid, not solid. We float within the paradox of all that is and if we cannot see and feel this fluidity, we suffer.
I have a philosophy about pain and healing and that is… My body exists where I’m at… So, I’ll be dealing with the fatigue, recovery, pain and soreness whether I’m lying about at home in the illusion of safety or whether I’m out and about openly sharing in a circle of companions. Ha, ha, ha… In other words, I can feel physically like shit at home or feel physically like shit having what might quite possibly be the best experience of a lifetime. I personally will always default to the latter as long as it feels right and not a risk to others or self. These discomforts can be physical or emotional or spiritual. Admittedly my default of primarily choosing connection sometimes gets me in a bit of trouble if I’m not paying attention to my body…. This life, this time around is very short indeed and I’m grateful for every moment I get to commune with others.
To be engaged authentically with the world is in a sense to suffer. In the moment my suffering meets your suffering we stand on common ground, breath common air, swim in the same waters and feel the heat of the same fire. The moment our eyes meet, we are one and an alchemical change takes place. The mutual reciprocity makes us wholly one regardless of the scale in which it is perceived. It becomes the UBUNTU. A term that in essence means my wellbeing is directly tied to your wellbeing. This becomes not just some concept of what empathy and compassion could be, but a visceral manifestation of what this soul level of connection IS. In learning to be with another in joy and in suffering, we learn layers and levels of empathy we never would have known. This opens our soul to LOVE.
Who has understood the real meaning of suffering? Theories are everywhere, but humanity remains suffering in the wilderness, removed from the state of peace, joy and bliss by its opposition to fear. Rather than befriending the warning system our body offers and allowing and accepting whatever shows up; we suffer in the illusion that fear can elicit. The unknown can be a little disconcerting, when perceived through the lens where we actually think we have control. My near death experiences and path toward a heart transplant bring me to a place of surrender. It’s hasn’t been easy and I suspect there may be bumpy roads ahead. I still fall into a fear pattern when I can’t control the outcome of an experience. Throughout this journey, when I’m paying attention, I find it becomes easier and easier to return to a love affair with the questions, to move through the fear walking hand in hand and surrender to the unknown. How cool is it that this shifting gets a bit easier each time I round another bend in the path?
Awareness is a primal force in the ability to shift from one experience to another without suffering at the loss of unmet expectations. Awareness gives us the opportunity to feel everything we feel without a value judgement or the need to control the outcome. Acceptance and allowing are the simultaneous lovers of peace, joy, pain and suffering. When we stop feeling…. We are dying; emotionally, spiritually and physically. We are viscerally alive because we feel.
I had a conversation yesterday that led to a listing of all the people in my life. It’s such an amazing blessing to be connected to so many. My lover, my family, my friends, my work family and my virtual family are among those that populate my list. I’m truly feeling the support system the Universe has surrounded and wrapped me in. Today on this path I’m currently walking; I feel stronger and I’m healing from the heart procedure on Monday. Two days from now, I meet with a new health care team and cut another facet in this jewel I call my life.