Being Attached to Suffering
Many times I’ve noticed in myself an intense resistance to getting better. A resistance to leaving the past behind and moving into a place of wellness.
The parts of me that are attached to suffering are strong, clever and persistent. They’re convincing, and sometimes they play dirty.
That said, over time, I’ve been learning to reclaim my freedom.
One interesting observation has been the fear and refusal to change *in front of other people*.
“They can’t know!!”, snarls the beast. A curious mixture of pride, fear, sadness and denial.
The parts that power this resistance believe that other people are not safe to invite into my experience. “Maybe I’ll heal, but I’ll sure as hell do it alone,” it insists.
In the past few years, I’ve begun to appreciate the depth of suffering that a pained mind can pass on to the people and organizations around it.
I’ve reflected on the ways in which my fear, self-consciousness, avoidance and/or pessimism have constructed the world around me in perfect synchrony with those patterns.
For example: be avoidant >> don’t learn to solve problems or have difficult conversations >> continue to see the world as place full of unsolvable problems and scary people >> repeat!
What I want to share, though, is the progress I’ve been able to make in terms of releasing this attachment.
I’ve begun to take seriously the responsibility of becoming a freer and happier person.
“Freer and happier” doesn’t necessarily mean “ignore all problems and play ukulele in a field until I fall asleep every day.” (Though it could?!)
For me, it means working towards my goals — having aims that I aspire to — but seeing my own wellbeing as a true force for good. A fundamental, integral part of my process of awakening and the healing I desire to give others. Not only for myself as an individual, but for any community that I am a part of.
The resisting parts think that I can do good work in the world, but still go to bed suffering and feeling overwhelmed. Feeling drained.
What has become clearer and clearer is that I won’t really be healing anyone or anything until my own wellbeing becomes non-negotiable.
So… yes, let’s do good work. Build our businesses. Organize, protest, go back to school. All of it.
But is it possible that the greatest influence you’ll ever have is a result of WHO you are, rather than WHAT you do?
I’m realizing that I can never share (or reap) the benefits of WHO I truly am until I’m able to see excess suffering for what it is: a drain on life energy, an unhelpful mental habit… a powerful delusion that grasps for a sense of security and familiarity.
The lie is that suffering and overwhelm prove how committed I am.
The reality is that the best thing we can do for others — and ourselves — is to find an enduring source of wisdom, purpose and joy… and EMBODY it in our daily lives.
So, dearest attachment to suffering: no more, I say!
My commitment, my vision, my focus… is to become a grounded and resourced human being, with a lamp of bright flame and clear glass.
The good news is, this gift to myself is simultaneously the portal to becoming the generous and empowering person I aspire to be.
The sacred win-win!