We all fall into suffering at some point in our lives. Merriam Webster; suffering implies conscious endurance of pain or distress. I looked it up because as I started writing this it dawned on me that maybe I was not using it in the correct context but I did, and do use it in the way intended. The key is conscious endurance. Why do we stay in that state of suffering when we know there’s a way out? I know I stayed in my marriages way past their due date and I would venture to guess each of my husbands would say that everyone was suffering. The same goes with health, raising children, friendships, and fill in the blank.
In relationships, getting a divorce is one way to end the suffering immediately, yet deep grief followed mine. It’s not always immediate. There was a moment of euphoria of that closed in feeling being set free, but it was short lived. I had to go through my dark night of the soul to look at myself and my part in the partnership breakdown. The same goes for taking charge of one’s health, a moment of euphoria, then really looking at what derailed in me to get to the unhealthy state. Whether a relationship break down, disease, or illness. How did I contribute to the suffering? Rigorous honesty is necessary to break through and make a change. It might not be that the relationship is any better or that perfect health is imminent but that isn’t the point. The point is being in the moment, in truth, and honesty with oneself that is which liberates us from the suffering.
This past month I stopped listening to the silence, the knowing that I get in the early hours when I meditate. It’s that feeling of contentment. I pray because often in my life, even as a young child, that is all I had in a chaotic world. Prayer is where I find peace. However, the busy came whirling into my life and it was easy to venture back into this numbed out state, which for me, is being too busy to meditate, too busy to journal, too busy to get out in nature, too busy thinking about an unavailable man. Being too busy leads to an inner discontent and in turn leads me down the road to suffering. That road where my edges get sharpened and not in a good way of being quick and smooth but impulsive and piercing. I choose people who aren’t really available. I’m not just talking about potential romantic partners but even friends and colleagues. When I’m not clear and centered I go down the slippery road and knock on the door with suffering ready to greet me and welcome me back to the familiar.
The gratitude lies that I didn’t make it to suffering’s doorstep because I found my way back to the mat to meditate and pray. It’s like getting up and exercising, which I had done in decades past, now it’s all about the heart and the mind getting some exercise. It’s easy to get out of shape quickly but it’s also not too difficult to start over again. I’m glad to have found the detour to suffering for today.
In the meantime, I pray that I’m not distracted by people, places, and things for which I have no control over any ways. I pray to get my butt out of bed early enough in the morning to sit in silence and listen.