I was touched after my last post to hear from some people who are suffering deep pain in their lives.
My heart goes out to you if that is you.
I’d like to share something today that I hope will help at least a little bit.
It’s a passage from my upcoming book Appreciate Everything.
Literally moments ago I finished the final edits of this book after working on it on and off for over the past 18 months!
I just breathed a humongous sigh of relief! It really doesn’t seem like it should have been that hard, but this has been the hardest book for me to complete so far.
For some reason I struggled with motivation and the ability to focus on completing it — so I feel such a huge relief now to have it finally ready.
There’s still a lot of work to be done to get it published for you, but the hardest part — the writing — is now ready. Whew!
And so today, I’d like to share this passage from one of the daily messages in the book, for anyone who is suffering:
Let’s talk more about why this habit to Appreciate Everything is so important and so life-changing.
James Allen, author of As A Man Thinketh, taught:
“Men imagine thought can be kept secret, but it cannot; it rapidly crystallizes into habit, and habit solidifies into circumstance.”
“Beautiful thoughts of all kinds crystallize into habits of grace and kindliness, which solidify into genial and sunny circumstances.”
Thoughts of gratitude and appreciation are among the most beautiful thoughts.
According to James Allen those thoughts crystalize into habits which produce ‘genial and sunny circumstances’.
I believe that’s true.
The more we focus on appreciation the more we seem to notice to appreciate and circumstances tend to get better over time as we appreciate.
This doesn’t mean we’ll never experience difficult circumstances. Everything happens for a reason and there is benefit and opportunity to be found in everything that happens.
But when our predominant thoughts are gratitude, we tend to attract much happier circumstances over time.
But what if we are currently in pain, can we be grateful even then?
In his book The Science of Enlightenment, Shinzen Young describes this powerful formula: “Pain multiplied by resistance equals suffering.”
In formula view this looks like: Pain x Resistance = Suffering
An important reality in life to remember is this:
Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.
With appreciation we leave behind resistance.
When we express gratitude, even for our pains, we can end our suffering.
You can’t always control Pain.
But you can almost always control resistance.
I say ‘almost always’ because there may be times in life when we feel so consumed by negativity that we don’t even feel capable in that moment of turning our thoughts toward gratitude.
This is not to say we shouldn’t try, I just want to make sure you feel acknowledged in those moments when it feels like your thoughts are out of your control.
I have felt this many times.
Just know that it’s OK. Eventually that too will pass, and we regain control over our thinking.
Now think about this: If resistance equals zero, and you multiply that by level 10 pain, how much suffering does that equal?
Zero suffering of course.
0 resistance x 10 pain = 0 suffering.
You would still be experiencing pain, but the emotional suffering is not there when there is no resistance to the pain.
In a state of no resistance you can even feel joy while in the midst of pain.
(Which is an incredibly empowering experience.)
Suffering definitely has its place though.
If we are suffering emotionally it is teaching us something about our self and showing us where we still have room to let go and stop resisting.
And as soon as we do stop resisting, our suffering can end.
So how do we reduce our resistance to life’s circumstances?
The fastest way to end resistance is through appreciation.
Gratitude and resistance are not compatible energies.
I’ll leave you with one more crucial point on this from James Allen:
“Suffering is always the effect of wrong thought in some direction.”
“It is an indication that the individual is out of harmony with himself, with the Law of his being.”
“The sole and supreme use of suffering is to purify, to burn out all that is useless and impure. Suffering ceases for him who is pure. There could be no object in burning gold after the dross had been removed, and a perfectly pure and enlightened being could not suffer.”
Clearly, suffering has a purpose in our life, otherwise we would not experience it.
And what is the purpose of suffering?
Suffering is there to purify us.
With that knowledge, we are free to let go of resistance toward suffering also. In fact, we can express sincere appreciation for suffering.
But that doesn’t mean we need to remain in suffering.
Once we see ourselves more clearly, and we move toward appreciation and away from resistance, we can end our suffering and move forward in peace.
Suffering has served its purpose of purification.
So keep on appreciating!
If you find yourself suffering, just start the appreciation ball rolling on the smallest thing you can think of, and let it snowball from there.
Writing is often the best way to appreciate in moments of suffering.
Eventually you may feel grateful for the suffering, but don’t start there.
Start with the fact that you are breathing or something like that. Start by appreciating those things that you always have which are easy to truly appreciate.
I hope that serves you in some way today.
Make Today Amazing!