I couldn’t help but take note of how the Western culture, particularly in the modern day U.S., sees struggle in a very negative light, as we are always being told to think positive about every situation. Various Eastern cultures, particularly within the religion Buddhism, however, have a very different outlook when it comes to suffering- a teaching very similar to that of emerging spiritual leaders such as Eckhart Tolle.
Basically, it states that all suffering comes from how we perceive the world to be and by comparing it to our expectation of how it should be, and remaining attached to that idea through conditioning over years and years, especially in western society where we are all taught to be future-focused and goal-oriented.
However, peace comes only through acceptance of and being in the present moment.
Using the principles of Buddhism and the teachings of Eckhart Tolle, I’ve listed the four most practical and powerful techniques to allow for silence and deep reflection on your journey into the Now:
- Meditate. Training your mind to be still will remove layers and years of conditioning, which will ultimately reveal the oneness between all living beings. It will simultaneously help you recognize, at a deeper level, the possibility of separation between spiritual peace and worldly life circumstances. Scientifically speaking, we are all composed of the same energy which can never be created or destroyed, but certainly can be altered.
- Practice regular observation of your thoughts and acceptance of the present moment as it is, without judgment or analyzing. This creates space between you (your Spirit) and your external identity (personality, life goals, etc.), making it much easier to simplify your thoughts, sort out your emotions and figure out the proper steps towards your desired goals and where you want to be.
- Remember that emotions are thoughts too- simply chemicals released from your brain which you feel in your body and define through your social constructs. But these emotions are not negative- they are neutral, and can be used to help you figure out where the imbalance lies so you can get back into alignment. Observe the emotions, accept that they are there and then relax- the physical symptoms will not be there forever; they will pass and you will be okay.
- Peace is found within yourself in each present moment. It is never NOT the present moment. If you know how to access the peace within in this moment, there is no reason to assume that at some point in the future you will lose that peace. Eliminate this fear so you can take risks, go after goals you never dreamed possible, and live a live of abundance in every aspect.
The goal is accepting that all things are the way they are and there is nothing to resist, and that the present moment is the only thing that is real and which matters. When we are able to expand our minds to think outside of societal norms, and finally let go of any attachment to our expectations which causes resistance between what is and what we think should be, that is when we are able to surpass even life’s most difficult challenges.
Do not resist suffering. Yes, it is important to focus on the positive and not dwell in a negative space, but it is equally is important to listen to your emotions and face your challenges head on. Suffering is beautiful in its own way because it carves the pathway to discover who you truly are and figure out what you desire at your deepest core. It also leads you to finding peace in every moment, which ultimately helps to clear your mind, take the appropriate action to change a situation, or come to an acceptance of the present moment exactly as it is.