Everyone experiences pain, loss, and setbacks. How can we look at our disappointments and hurts and still maintain a positive perspective on life? How do we increase our resiliency when we’re going through turbulent changes?
The story of Kisa Gotami
A Buddhist story, “The Mustard Seed,” shows that we don’t suffer independently or differently from others. This story is a favorite of the Oneness guides of India. As the story goes, Kisa Gotami, a woman whose son has died, is in deep suffering. In her grief, she carries her son’s body to all the people in her village and asks everyone for help. Finally a villager sends her to see the Buddha, to whom she cries out, “Master, please help me! Give me medicine to cure my child and bring him back to life!”
“Bring me a handful of mustard seeds that were taken from a house where no death has occurred and no grief experienced,” the Buddha replies. “It must be a home where no one has lost a parent, friend, spouse, or child. Then you will be free from suffering.”
So Kisa Gotami searches for a family that has not experienced death. She cannot find such a family, of course. At each home in her village, she is reminded that everyone has gone through the same grief she is experiencing. There is no house where a beloved person has not died. Everyone has suffered as she is suffering. Finally, she realizes that her suffering is not unique. Now she knows that her situation cannot be changed. Since death happens in all families, she can no longer remain selfish in her grief. At last, because she sees that she is not alone, Kisa Gotami releases her suffering. She buries her child in the forest and returns to the Buddha to take comfort.
This story is a lesson about shared suffering. It’s about understanding that we don’t suffer differently from other people. Like Kisa Gotami, we have experienced joy, happiness, pain, and fear. None of these are new, and our suffering is not special. Suffering is common to humanity because no one leads an independent existence. In the New Testament writings, the mustard seed represents faith. Everyone has the same emotions, even the same habits that we use to avoid suffering. We are intimately related and connected through suffering, and we share it collectively. We can no more own suffering than we can own the stars.
Your suffering is not unique
Your suffering is not unique, nor are you alone in your suffering. Suffering is shared, nobody owns it, and we even suffer the same way. Suffering is the same for everybody, because it is always the same mechanism at work. Since we share the same mind and consciousness, why would our suffering be different?
There is no one on this planet that will escape suffering. When we resist suffering, we dissociate from the experience, we blame others, or we set up escape routes in our mind to distract us. We’re afraid to experience suffering, but if you want to be finished with it, then you’ll have to allow those feelings to come. Resistance can be its own brand of suffering. This is because your resistance will keep the experience coming back again and again.
If hurt is present, don’t create some explanation for it. Experience the hurt completely and let yourself go straight through the experience. Give yourself permission to feel these things just as if you would if joy were in front of you. Don’t be afraid. Suffering is just another experience. It comes to an end. When you embrace it and move though it, you won’t get stuck in it.
How can we embrace the light and dark sides of life and still respect life as a learning journey?
- Change your outlook on change. This is “big picture thinking.” Of course major upheavals in life can be challenging, but you still need to view adversity as change, not loss and failure. Changes teach us resiliency, both physiologically and emotionally. Change is necessary for all life forms to evolve. You have to give up certainty and trust the ever-changing process of life. Know that Spirit supports you, no matter what. Adversity is a deeply spiritual lesson because God is showing you a piece of life you need to view for your own evolution and transformation.
- Remain fully present to your suffering. Being fully present during loss, grief, and other forms of adversity is important. Until you process your pain, you cannot move through it. People often stuff or manage their emotional pain, which then translates into poor health, bad habits, and more psychological suffering. Embrace your suffering. Feel it and experience it in order to move past it.
- Affirm your positive, present-moment benefits, no matter what. Accepting life’s contrasts, whether from financial loss, divorce, illness, or grief, means you accept life wholeheartedly. You must accept the bad with the good. As adults, we tend to resent life. Keep moving forward, look up, and ask for Divine assistance. You’ll be amazed at how help arrives, so be open to receiving your good. The universe is infinitely creative. It will send help in ways you cannot imagine.
Let’s draw our strength together and remember that each day is a new opportunity to make positive change in your world, no matter what. Affirm:
“Change is good. I am comforted by knowing that starting over is an ongoing job. I am becoming more resilient with every circumstance. I never give up. Life is a cycle, so there’s always more room for love. I believe I am evolving every day.”
Suffering is a condition we can move through. Humans are designed to experience grief, but not to be permanently stuck in it. Remember that adverse changes in life permit personal growth and give us a greater capacity to love. Watch the corresponding video on The Balancing Act here.
© Charlene M Proctor and The Goddess Network, Inc. All Rights Reserved. For more affirmations, read The Women’s Book of Empowerment:323 Affirmations that Change Everyday Problems into Moments of Potential. Click Here to buy.
More affirmations that help you develop resiliency and strength to survive adversity. Self development lessons and weekly power exercises from Let Your Goddess Grow! are included in attachments.
Grief arising from loss
My heartache fills my entire body today, but I know the love I have for this person who has crossed over is far greater than my heartache. From this day forward, each time I feel my heart aching from the absence of this person, I will focus on the love they brought into my life. I am so very thankful to have been blessed by their presence. No one is ever lost or gone forever, because love lasts forever. Every time I feel a heartache coming on, I send out a greater amount of love to the outer reaches of the universe and beyond. I am comfortable knowing this person will receive my love every day and through every loving thought.
I leave this relationship with grace and dignity. I know my soul must grow in a place outside the perimeter of this relationship. No matter how painful the past has been, I am thankful that this venture has been part of my learning journey because it helps me to further define myself. My ability to give and receive love remains intact. My heart is healing. I have tremendous capacity to love others, no matter what the circumstances.
I no longer run from life. I now fully engage in what life has to offer. I rise above any physical need that does not contribute to my overall health and well-being. I do not need any substance to hide from life because I love what I have to offer. I am the parent and my body is the child. I take care of my child-body with love because I love my beautiful self.
Finding new work requires facing a transition and changing my old mental habits. I view this period as an opportunity to become clearer about what I want to do with my life. My hurt and uncertainty about the future leave my body before I get out of bed each morning. I arise with an attitude of success. I believe this change is a learning experience, and I step up to this challenge with strength and conviction. I have a great deal to offer both a new employer and the world.