Mini-inquiry: Suffering is terrible

Suffering is terrible.

TA: Suffering is not terrible.

It’s very ephemeral. It’s here for a while, then it’s gone. It’s not terrible.

TA: Suffering is wonderful.

In my experience, it’s humbling in a good way, it makes me more human. Suffering opens me up.

In my experience, the intensity of it is a “peak” experience, it brings me close and here & now. It’s wonderful in that sense.

I feel alive, even in the suffering, and very present.

It makes me seek new solutions because the old doesn’t work. There is receptivity for something new.

The painful thing about suffering is trying to escape it, not the suffering itself.

(And is it suffering if I don’t try to escape it?)

Specific to a situation where I experienced suffering:

A year and a half ago, when the dark night was at it’s darkest (so far!), I realized “I” couldn’t do anything. “I” couldn’t fix it, manipulate it, control it. That was humbling in a very god way.

During that time, I also saw I couldn’t just “pull myself out of it”. It was impossible. It helped me understand how it is for others. It made me see myself as more human, more as anyone else.

It was also a very intense and alive experience, bringing me to the present. That was genuinely wonderful.

It brought me to seek help in a very sincere way. It helped me open up to new and different ways of relating to life and my experience.

Specifically, it helped me experience – more intimately – my tendency to want to escape experiences and life, and that itself is painful.

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I see that it makes a difference to find examples from a very specific situation. It makes it more real and it feels more honest.

If I stay at the abstract, I have a feeling that I may be tricking myself, and I do. I go into generalizations and affirmations.

When inquiry – and the examples for the turnarounds – are for a specific situation in my life, it brings it into focus. It is real.

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The worst that could happen in my life is that I will suffer.

TA: The best that could happen in my life is that I will suffer.

It’s be the best for me because:

It shows me what’s left (in terms of beliefs).

It may open me up for something new, outside of my familiar framework.

It may give me understanding and compassion for others who suffer.

I may see that I cannot just pull myself out of it, and it’s the same for others.

It’s an invitation to notice and inquire into my beliefs about (resistance to) suffering, and find more peace with it.

I may find that suffering is not what I thought it was. I may see that “suffering” is a label, and that the turnaround is equally or more true.

It may be an intense and alive experience which brings attention here and now.

I may ask for help from someone I otherwise wouldn’t.

I may feel more connected with people in my life through sharing more openly what’s going on for me.

I may experience kindness from others and life in a way I didn’t expect.

I may share my humanity more openly with friends and family.

I may embrace my humanity more fully.

Best for others:

It invites people in my life (who have inquiry) to inquiry, to notice and questions their beliefs about suffering, helping.

People in my life see me as more fully human, and may give themselves permission to embrace more of themselves.

Best for the world:

If I find peace with suffering (and the thoughts creating suffering), it may be of benefit to the world. It’s an example. It shows it’s possible. I may share it through individual facilitation and workshops, and just through ordinary daily life.

– o –

Resistant thoughts

If I see suffering as good, it may happen.

I may stay with suffering instead of trying to find a way out.

I will be complacent.

People will see me as heartless.

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