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Mental Health: 4 Ways to Take Control of your Suffering

embody Apr 27, 2022

BE FREE FROM JUDGEMENT. RELINQUISH YOUR FEARS. ACCEPT THAT SUFFERING IS JUST A PART OF EXISTING. 

Depression for me was about suffering: the suffering of being alive. There was no way to see beyond this suffering. When I discovered that all life suffers my world shifted, then I travelled into the teachings of Buddha who taught that "all life is suffering" with the four noble truths. Here, my perspective of reality began to shift - I was responsible to choose my responses to experiences in my life regardless of the external circumstances.


Suffering is Universal Reality

I recall the day it shifted for me so clearly. I was watching a David Attenborough documentary on Africa and the animals killing, starving and dying. It was so sad and I could see this immense suffering of all nature. Yet, the animals would learn how to keep safe, shake it off and then play and enjoy their lives when not in those dangerous moments. Animals live in the present joy and forget the suffering of the past.

Suffering exists and is a reality. We each have our unique experiences and lessons to learn. We cannot compare our suffering to another's because we are all on our own path. Comparisons are a form of judgement and the critical mind. This is the ego in control. The part of you that keeps you small and living in a limited way. When I suffer from seeing another’s suffering, I am actually indulging in my own shadows and cannot be of service to the other person in suffering. 

BE FREE FROM JUDGEMENT. RELINQUISH YOUR FEARS. ACCEPT THAT SUFFERING IS JUST A PART OF EXISTING. 

Suffering is a Choice

Evolution was hard and humans struggled, we can still be immensely grotesque in our treatment of others. The growth of our species has led to many challenges in the past, but modern-day life gives us more time and freedom. Yet, more mental health issues arise due to this change. However, Buddha knew over 2,500 years ago that suffering was a conscious choice in how we perceive our reality and life, even when life was physically much harder for humans. 

To remove suffering from life is to be responsible for how you react to your life. How you live and experience your life is not what happens in your life but how you choose to react to it. When I could not join in with my 'old' life and the green monster would appear, I would consciously discover how my new experience was positive. I became consciously active in how I 'experienced' everything. 

Usually, the choice is from an expectation, a desire for something we wanted that was not met. We hold onto the past as though it was better than the present. We grasp onto a dream that will be better than the reality we are experiencing. When you stop 'holding' on you can look at it differently - do you really want that? Where is that wanting coming from? How will it make you truly feel good? 

NOTHING IS PERMANENT. YOU OWN NOTHING. ALL THINGS WILL PASS. RECOGNISE THERE IS ONLY THE NOW. 

Ruminating in the Past

The saying is that depression is living in the past and anxiety is living in the future. Happiness is from living in the present. This is so true!

There are some schools of therapy that rehash your past, you revisit and go over the suffering. More evidence builds towards healing through the physical body and clearing of the nervous system rather than our need to retell the suffering. My experience with therapy and counselling made me worse: I became more lost, angrier, more hurt and lonely. I lashed out at everyone around me in my self-hate. Endlessly mentally exploring the harm suffered is to constantly relive in the past, we want to bring it to the now where you are free from that suffering. 

When those sad feelings arise we do not need to ruminate on them, we must acknowledge its lessons and get on with the present moment. This does not devalue the suffering, it does not hide or brush it away. We learn from the lessons without solely focusing on the suffering, but through how it changes us. To become humble and relinquish the ego's control, we must learn to let go of our 'little' world and embrace the larger universal expanse and deeper growth. 

Take 5-10 minutes to be with the emotions arising from the suffering, allowing the full overwhelming feelings. Allow their expression so that you can then return to your activities and be fully present for others.

LET GO OF SUFFERING. SURRENDER IT UP 

Victim Mindset

A victim is "a person who has come to feel helpless and passive in the face of misfortune or ill-treatment. " The key in the words 'come to feel'. When we recognise that we control how we feel in each moment then we can understand that emotions are a choice. This choice is what changes our karma and lives. 

Suffering connects us. It is a place where we can meet, share empathy and show compassion. A hand that can be held out to another for them to choose to take a step on their path to true awakening. Yet we do not want to be stuck in suffering alongside others, we want to all guide and support each other along our own paths.

When bullied as a child I recall being told: "If no one likes you, then maybe there is something wrong with you. The world can't all be against you." This scarred me greatly. My strength of character refused to obviously completely agree with this statement and I always appeared to follow my own way. However, it was only after my head injury that I saw how I had a victim mindset. 

My ego had disguised how I dealt with this statement. I have followed my own desires, yet my desires were terribly misaligned. I have mentioned before that my dad identified that my approach to life was:  "if there is a hard way to do something you will take it and make it harder." This is very active participation in suffering, I choose to create more suffering than I ever needed to experience to justify my existence and right to live. I was a victim of living. 

When faced with what to make of my brain injury I had a choice - to suffer more as the victim of my injury or actively make the most of my experience. I chose the latter because perhaps it could help others. I began to discover that there could be meaning in my life. 

The final step of Buddha's 4 noble truths is 'the way' or the 8 fold path. These are steps to help guide us to awakening. When we release our suffering we awaken and can begin the path to enlightenment. 

TAKE CONTROL. CHOOSE EASE IN YOUR LIFE. 

Walking Your Path

Your path is yours and yours alone. The Buddhist 8 fold path may guide your journey, or perhaps the Law of Attraction's approach to the path of least resistance is all you need. Perhaps the simplicity of self-compassion is the easiest path for you to take - to allow yourself the time and space to speak kind words to yourself and demonstrate gentle acts of care.

I love to walk this path with my clients through my Luminous Life program where they become more positive, calm, present and fulfilled with their life.

To discover if this is the program for you, book a free 30 minute call with me here

 

 


First published 12 APRIL 2018 on omegamovement.co.uk 

Edited and updated 

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