It’s true that one of the boldest declarations of mysticism is ‘life is suffering’. It is the first point made by Buddhism and many other influential doctrines. Of course, this is a truly difficult pill to swallow.
After all, we know that we do not suffer all of the time. Despite the decay of the world, and the difficulties we must face to survive it, there are certain positive measures we can find such as responsibility, ambition, satisfaction, gratitude, and love. For that reason, moving forward with clarity and purpose needn’t feel like a hopeless pursuit.
But what to do when we do encounter this suffering? Is there a way to find true peace, or is that only looking for an escape? Can we ever bond with our pasts and accept them for what they are, and move forward by staying within the present? All of these questions can add layers of complexity to an already difficult question – how am I supposed to live ‘correctly?’
You may wish to use the following insights to help you in this journey:
This Too Shall Pass
Remember the adage ‘this too shall pass’. It helps you focus on avoiding deep identification with favorable circumstances, while also feeling overly victimized by negative situations. The yin and yang is a perfect representation of this, where the black holds a little white and vice versa. We are all on life’s rollercoaster, and so it’s important to ensure you can view things as temporary and appreciate them for what they are – even if that’s a troubling lesson you need to be taught. This too shall pass, and you can grow from it.
A Guiding Principle
It can be important to have a guiding principle you can relate to when the going gets tough, or if you simply seek to expand your spirit. With Advaita Vedanta, you can understand that underneath all of our thoughts, emotions and beliefs is a spark of consciousness and self that is fundamentally pure, and always will be. This can help you return to your centre and slowly train to avoid being swept up by circumstance and thought – two things most responsible for our suffering or feeling of detachment. This non-duality helps us overcome and helps us return to our most natural self.
Learning & Improving
Like anything in life, it’s important to learn from that which you can. You can’t dominate every single situation in life nor are you invulnerable to its developments, but you can choose to use every situation as a means in which to grow. Reflecting using a journal, noting your progress each day, and focusing on the self-reflection you have been avoiding (this is essential) will help you strengthen your weak spots. After a while, you can become stronger than you had thought possible, and it’s because the artificial limitations you keep putting on yourself (sometimes automatically) are now being questions. That’s an important realization for anyone.
With this advice, we hope you can find true peace through suffering, and even grow as a result. None of us are immune to suffering, but we can use it as a fuel, or use it to return to ourselves more coherently.