The Buddhists tell us pain can be a part of life and suffering is optional. The psychologists tell us many major life changes can be painful and grieving is a healthy way to navigate the pain. Physical death of a being we hold dear, our own journey to death and metaphorical death all may cause us pain. Metaphorical death is the topic of this post.
Metaphorical – symbolic – death. We are going along in our dreamy, illusory world. Mostly on auto pilot. Our ego has it all figured out. Everything in our lives is all tied up in pretty little package. Everything is normal. You get the picture. Life.
Except, there is some part of us – our soul, maybe – whispering. That part can feel like it is in prison, can’t move, is being held down. It wonders why we are even here. What’s the point? Thoughts of death may sneak into our train of endless thoughts to be quickly pushed back into the dark. I’m not talking about someone who is seriously suicidal. I’m talking about your life and mine. This death is really about symbolic death – some part of us is not serving us well. We sense a coming change – a death.
So much of what defines us as human beings is pushed into the dark. Fear, anger, greed, hatred, pain, and wondering what the whole bizarre game is about anyway. It’s healthy to welcome all those thoughts and feelings. They really are not a big deal. Simply normal, human thoughts. Look at them, talk to them, get to know all the aspects of who you are. All is sacred. Learn to dance with all the parts – the light and the dark. I’m using light and dark as generally defined by our society – not a judgment on my part. Find your own words. It’s the idea that’s important. Some parts of you – you accept and want everyone to see. Some parts of you – you reject and don’t want to look at yourself much less show them to others. That’s what I’m talking about here. All sacred – all you.
Back to pain and suffering. The Buddhists teach non-attachment. If pain can be a part of life and if suffering is optional, how do I rid myself of suffering. Non-attachment. In other words, learning to let go of – my own self image, what others think of me, my need for another or money or fame or respect – you can add your own list. The key word here is our belief we need a certain self image or something or someone. There is a huge difference between need and want.
So, what part of us is so needy? The part – most would say ego – that does not want change. The part clinging to the status quo even when the status quo is not nourishing or fulfilling or joyful. Ego – or your own word – attempts to avoid pain at all cost! And, as I said above, there is always another part – whispering. Soul understands suffering is optional and grieving is temporary – an energy adjustment period – healthy. Our soul is anxious to let go – to jump off the cliff into the unknown – to fly – to evolve – to change. It knows and yearns for real love, real joy, real freedom. Yearns to walk in this world alive and authentic.
Let go. Two very simple words. And, probably the most difficult of all to embrace.