Hold the sadness and pain of samsara in your heart and at the same time the power and vision of the Great Eastern Sun. Then the warrior can make a proper cup of tea - Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche
This quote from Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche really hits me in the heart. I believe it is reminding us all that we must rise up and be willing to feel and balance both pain and happiness in our own hearts. In order to do this we must allow our hearts to open up so that we can feel at full throttle the suffering of all life (what Rinpoche often called the tender heart or genuine heart of sadness) as opposed to drowning out the pain with numbness, denial, anger, addiction and so forth. If we are willing to feel fully and acknowledge the truth of pain, suffering and injustice in life, but at the same time not be drowned in it, we will experience balance and completeness within.
Back some time ago my heart was is in a constant state of heartache over the state of world affairs - the planet, people and animals were suffering immensely and it was breaking my heart. I was desperate to find coping methods on how to deal with all the wrongness within the world. I was also trying to uncover some kind of peace about all the senseless killing (wars, slavery, animal abuse etc).
- We choose to numb out the truth: We have enough pain in our own lives that we feel like we don't have the energy to possibly take on any more pain. So instead of investigating the pain we are confronted with we choose to back away from the truth in hope that we won't see or feel something that will hurt us. This is denial and it is one of the most common ways to block out pain and suffering, ultimately allowing us to become numb to all the pain and suffering that surrounds us.
- We drown it out with addiction: Another great way to numb the pain is to replace the pain with distractions or things that temporary make us feel good so that we no longer feel the pain within. Some common forms of addiction include alcohol, tobacco, drugs, gambling, shopping, sex, food, video games, the internet and an addiction to work.
- We fight back with anger: When tragedy strikes, our first human response is to react in anger and revenge in hope that we can bring an end to the darkness by destroying it, however lashing out in anger only expands and multiplies the darkness. Not only will your anger contribute to spreading hatred, violence and war, but if anger is your only fuel to action, you’ll be quick to lose steam.
- We get depressed: Negative situations play their toll on our hearts, often leaving us weary and a little more broken. We must choose to find the good amongst all the bad. Instead of putting our focus on all that is wrong in the world we must focus on all the positive changes happening every minute of every day.
- We feel it full throttle and then turn it into love: A person who holds love and positivity in their heart has the power to heal and impact a million people. If we are strong enough to acknowledge and hold the truth of suffering in our heart, we are also strong enough to turn the darkness into light, which will ultimately contribute to the end of suffering.
From today forward strive to become the person who is willing to feel the pain full throttle so you can turn it into love. Allow yourself to become fully aware of the unnecessary suffering of our planet and all beings, caused by racism, sexism, speciesism, religious preference, war, economic exploitation, domination, and other forms of systemic oppression. Choose to become the light in the world so you can do your part towards liberation for all beings. Become the voice and the light, not to seek approval or power, but to contribute to cultivating a more compassionate contribution to world change.
We must no longer let the pain control and disable us. We must rise strong and become the light by choosing to free our ourselves from the suffering that manifests in individuals, relationships, groups, institutions, and social systems by becoming the change we want to see in the world. Love, compassion and unity is what will ultimately bring about progressive change and a new world order. We must always choose to bring the light even to those circumstances that are beyond our own comprehension.
To rise above the pain and suffering of the world around us we need to deprive it of oxygen. We need to bring truth, love and beauty to the surface . We do this through our art, our music, our writing, our kindness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer passion for life — and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe.
From today forward don't let threats of violence disempower you or outrage you. Instead of focussing on the negative problem, focus on the positive solution. For what you focus on grows and gets bigger. The only answer to so much darkness is to bring light. As Saint Francis of Assisi reminded us, “Where there is darkness, let me bring light.”
We must become instruments of peace and love by bringing our own light to all corners of darkness within our world. Love itself is the way forward, and is the only solution for the kind of darkness that brings such violence.
If we rise strong, then the pain we allow into our heart often turns out to become one of our greatest teachers, playing a part in helping us do the work we are destined to do. Being willing to face the pain gives us the opportunity to practice turning hostile thoughts into thoughts of forgiveness and love.
Feelings of loss, suffering and hurt can make for a painful journey, however when we feel our hearts becoming heavy we must always remind ourselves of the eternal truth that whatever the problem, no matter how unjust, love is always the answer. This is the message of all of our great spiritual masters. Spiritual masters that taught enlightenment does not bring love; rather love itself is what brings enlightenment. As the 16th-century metaphysical Christian mystic known as Saint John of the Cross once reminded his followers, “Where there is no love, put love, and you will find love.”
For me personally, each time I open myself up to bear witness to something painful or unjust I commit to bringing light to these dark places. It is what I humbly attempt to live each and every day. I have learnt along my journey that where we find hatred we must infuse love, for this is the only way to heal all that is suffering in the world.
PRAYER OF SAINT FRANCIS OF ASSISI
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace!
That where there is hatred, I may bring love.
That where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness.
That where there is discord, I may bring harmony.
That where there is error, I may bring truth.
That where there is doubt, I may bring faith.
That where there is despair, I may bring hope.
That where there are shadows, I may bring light.
That where there is sadness, I may bring joy.
Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort, than to be comforted.
To understand, than to be understood.
To love, than to be loved.
For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.
It is by forgiving that one is forgiven.
It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life.
Extra Resources You May Enjoy
The Third Noble Truth - A Glimpse Of Hope
How To Be Happy When We Are Aware Of Suffering
Pema Chodren Resources