People tend to arrive at spiritual work because of some type of dissatisfaction with their lives. It’s the human tendency to try to distance ourselves from this discomfort and yet running from our pain never seems to alleviate it for very long.
Buddhist teaching suggests a different route that leads us not away from our pain and suffering but rather directs us through it. Meeting our dissatisfaction fully offers us an alternative view of whatever ailes us. This different view has the potential to shift our perspective in powerful ways.
Stepping into this new perspective is like stepping onto a surfboard for the first time. As many know, being able to surf well takes practice. But knowing that the waves of pain will always be there can motivate us to learn this time-honored spiritual skill. Once learned, practitioners find that while pain may arise in life, it no longer sticks as it once may have. Deep longings supported by certitude and psychological story-telling begin to lose their grip on us as we grow past them. Our relationships change because we change internally; no longer running away from any wave but rather learning how to become better at negotiating our acceptance of every wave’s offering.