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Suffering. Are we done yet?

What’s your flavor?  Mine is fear.  Mine is pain.  Mine is random bouts of hopelessness that eventually turn into fits of uncontrollable laughter at the insanity of it all.

What’s your flavor?  Is it judgement?  Is it addiction?  Is it self loathing?  Is it different every day?

Mine sometimes skips around before choosing just one.

Even my physical pain seems to mosey…here for a day, there for a day, oh…yeah…i’ll stay right here for a week.

And what can we do?  Cry?  Get Acupuncture?  Complain?  Complain some more?  Complain to someone else?  Get more Acupuncture…

What do we really have in place to look suffering dead on in the eyeballs and say, “Hey, it’s nice to see you again, how about we do it my way this time?”

And what would “your way” look like?

You realize you have a choice right.  Somewhere under it all.  Under it all…those parts…I’m talking to those ones your thinking about right now that control you…yeah, those.  You actually control THEM, but they don’t want you knowing it.

And what do I mean by control?

I mean, you have the opportunity to decide how they will actually affect your life.

I have chronic back pain from breaking my back years ago.

So I can either:  Do nothing and feel horrible.  Or do yoga and drink plenty of water and almost forget I have chronic back pain.

Now, doing nothing is sometimes what I choose, and my reward for that is looking the other way when suffering stares it’s beady little eyes at me.  But that was my choice.

I just read a story the other day that someone posted on the fizzle-bizzle.  Oh, that’s facebook, it just sounds better.  It was a Zen story about a student that kept complaining to his teacher.  And the teacher  had the student put salt into a glass of water and drink it.  He then asked the student how it tasted and the student replied…as I’m quite sure you have already deduced, “salty.”

And then they walked silently to a large lake.  And once there, the teacher asked the student to put salt in the water.  And the student did.  And the teacher said, drink the water (I’m paraphrasing…it wasn’t like “I command thee”….you get the drift.)

And the student did, and then he said the water tasted fresh.  And the teacher replied something like, When life gets too salty, take a wider view.

When life gets too salty…Expand your view point.

Like all good zen teachings, it makes so much sense, and yet is so hard to put into practice.

Look, when I’m feeling salty I’m going to god damn feel salty…But when I do finally get bored of that…when I look around and see what else is in my world, or my life, or the lives around me…I do feel better.

Why?

Because I drank out of the lake and it was delicious.

Because I changed those things that were making me suffer.  I had to be ready to do it..but then one little step at a time, i did.

And so can you.

Why, truly, would you drink salt in an ity bity glass, when you could have fresh, beautiful, nourishing, clear, refreshingly amazing lake yumminess.

And also acupuncture, don’t forget about that!