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Understanding Suffering
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Understanding Suffering

Learn to withstand and even understand suffering.

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[Kelly Boys, Mindfulness Trainer] Have you ever been lost in suffering and just hard to get out of it, hard to understand it? I love to read a verse from the Christian New Testament and then talk about mindfulness and the perspective of mindfulness on the nature of suffering. Hopefully this is gonna help us get underneath why we suffer. This is Romans 5:2-5. "We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces character, and character produces hope. And hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." So what does it mean to rejoice in suffering? From a mindful perspective, we actually have to understand the nature of suffering first. So we all experience suffering. That could be emotional suffering or physical pain, and the thing that we add to it is all of our thoughts, stories, and judgments about the suffering. So in mindfulness, this is called the second arrow. The first arrow is the one that goes in. That's, oh, I tripped and fell and stubbed my toe, or oh, someone hurt me and I feel an emotional pain in my heart. And then the second arrow that we add is all the stories about it, the thoughts in our head, the ways that we can blow that up and cause more and more suffering in our lives but in order to suffer well, we actually need to know and trust that suffering produces perseverance and character, and ultimately hope. What does that mean? It means that we can turn toward and embrace it because we know that we'll be made stronger in the face of it. When we stop avoiding our own suffering and we turn toward it instead and turn toward our vulnerability, what is it that happens? From this verse, it says that we discover the hope that does not disappoint, a love that has been poured into our hearts. What if you were to take that into the suffering that you have and accept this love, this divine love poured into your heart and be able to move through the suffering with perseverance, character, and hope, and also with that mindful perspective not adding those second arrows of judgment, of story, of thinking it's gonna be forever, but to allow yourself to be in the vulnerability of the moment, moving through it. Okay, let's do a reflection. So feel free to close your eyes. You can keep your eyes open if you'd like. How can you direct this love inside of you toward the challenging bits? So if you consider that your heart has been poured love into it, how can you direct that love towards what is challenging right now for you, emotionally, physically? And if you consider where you're suffering and you turn toward it and listen, what is it that you hear? What is it that you know? Perhaps there's a longing for love here, a longing for safety, or connection, or healing. So giving this loving attention to your suffering heart, body, mind, and at the same time feeling this infinite well Divine Spirit has poured into yours. Simultaneously, can you let go of this added suffering that happens when our minds are trying to control? Can you just let go of control, turn toward your suffering, and see how that is? Thanks so much for practicing with me.

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