Friday, February 8, 2008

Managing pain and suffering in your life

Written and adapted by "The Yogi" from various sources including B.K.S. Iyengar’s “Light on Life"

We often focus on the past or the future to avoid experiencing the present, because the present can be painful, full of hardship and difficult to endure. The pain and hardship is actually there as a teacher because life is filled with pain, hardship and struggle. In the struggle alone, there is knowledge. Only when there is hardship do we see the light – the light at the end of the tunnel. Pain and hardship is our guru that shows us this light!

As we experience pleasures with joy, we must also learn not to lose our joy when the pain and hardship comes. As we see goodness in pleasure, we should learn how to see good in pain. Learn to find comfort in discomfort. We must not try to run away from hardships but make every effort to move through and beyond it. This is the cultivation of tenacity and perseverance, the stretching and pushing of ourselves with calmness. This is the spiritual attitude towards life, the essence of Yoga. While we don’t actively seek pain or hardship, we should not run from this inevitability that is part of all growth and change. By facing pain and hardship head-on, we learn to balance and adapt to the world that is always moving and unstable and we learn how to become tolerant to the permanence of change and difference.

Endurance and patience is needed to convert an unbearable pain and hardship into a bearable one. The act of bearing is an acceptance of adversity and suffering in our life and allows us to overcome such suffering. It resolves our anxieties and helps us get on a path where our life gets better, more fulfilled and the light at the end of the tunnel appears closer and brighter. It leads to inner peace and freedom giving optimism that life can only get even better.


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