Pain happens but suffering is optional. Have you ever noticed how much people, especially women, love to talk about the suffering they are experiencing in their lives? Simply ask someone “How are you doing?” and most times you will hear a 10 minute story about how someone did something to them or something happened and it goes downhill from there.
Yes, we as humans unconsciously like to “suffer” and enjoy talking about our suffering to others. Sometimes we take our cue from others or society on how much we should suffer. We even learned to suffer when we were young. For example, when a small child falls down they will instantly look at their mother – the reaction is delayed until the child gets a “cue” from the mother of how hurt he or she should be. The child then unconsciously “creates” a story around the reaction. Our fast paced society re-enforces this belief that life is hard and we should suffer.
The Shaman knows that pain in life occurs, but suffering is not necessary and therefore consciously chooses to practice non-suffering. The practice of non-suffering means that we stop telling stories about all the pain in our lives and the wounds our experiences have created. Instead of going over and over about how bad the experience was or how hurt we are, either in our own inner thoughts, or to others; we take a moment to look at it more objectively – as the observer. This helps us become more available to learn directly from the wisdom of the experience.
This doesn’t mean that we don’t express our feelings – anger, hurt, sorrow, etc. It means we don’t allow our feelings to be in control. It is necessary to let the feelings of our pain and life’s wounds have a voice, then we can more easily move through them and let them go.
We all have pain; we all have a nervous system that feels. But, it is our mental mind that attaches suffering to loss and trauma. When we can accept the emotions of our human self, embrace them as a mother would embrace a child, we move through them with less resistance, attachment and suffering.
We can gracefully experience the sorrow and emotional pain and still find the courage to take the pain and make it part of our healing. Every story that we create in our lives has a self-fulfilling prophecy. One story can promote the healing and another story promotes suffering. When we let go of suffering, we stop learning our lessons through traumas, conflicts and bad luck – we begin to learn directly from knowledge itself. So which story do you choose – one of suffering or one of healing?