The Beyond Help Series (February 13, 2008)

¡Hola! Everybody,
OK… I guess most of you already know, but my “surprises” have to do with work and living arrangements. It’s official, I am now director of my project and was given a substantial raise to boot. In addition, I will be moving to a new place this weekend. The new place is temporary; my roommates are two sisters, one of whom has a nice ass! They’ve agreed to have me as a roommate because a clergyman who apparently sees through my insanity for my Original Self and approves, recommended me. I’m looking to move into my own place by the end of June if not sooner.

I’m excited about being given the reins to this project, which has become my baby anyway. This also gives me more motivation to return to school and finish my graduate studies. I’m looking that perhaps five years from now, I’ll be doing more organizational consultancy work, or working for a foundation or think tank.

The negative side is that I won’t be as interactive in my blogs. I was specifically informed that I would need to decrease my blogging activities ::grin:: I will always post daily, but I won’t be as interactive in terms of spreading my smooches and attempts at seduction all over 360 (and Multiply).

On the more positive side, I will be looking to travel more, as my speaking duties will likely increase. So if I’m coming to a town near you, we’ll connect and I’ll give you a vaginal massage (first session free).

* * *

The Beyond Help Series
Acceptance, Pain & Suffering

“Pain is the breaking of the shell of your understanding.”
— Kahlil Gibran

Early on when I fist began picking up the pieces of my life, I came upon the phrase suffering is optional. Like most new things, I didn’t understand it at first, but a friend just told me to keep showing up for life. Today, I make a distinction between pain and suffering. Because of the way we use language, whenever we come face to face with a problem, our first impulse is to fix them. We try to get out of the quicksand. In our external world, this problem-solving approach is effective most of the time. Being able to figure out how to get out of undesirable events, such as being preyed on, deprivation, pests, or natural catastrophes is essential in securing our place as the dominant species on the earth.

However, it is also unfortunate that we try to use the same “fix it” mentality when it comes to understanding our inner world. When we encounter painful psychic content within ourselves, we often resort to what we always do: fix it up and sort it out so we can get rid of it. The truth of the matter is that our inner lives are not like our external world. For one thing, humans live in the context of a history, and time moves only in one direction, not two. Psychological pain has a history and, at least in some respects, the heart of the matter doesn’t entail getting rid of something. It is more a matter of how we deal with it and move one — evolve.

The acceptance in the title is based on the perspective that, as a rule, trying to get rid of your pain only makes it worse, entangles you further in it, and eventually makes it more traumatic. In my post on Emotional Quicksand, I illustrated how meeting the suction force of quicksand with tension only makes you more stuck in the quicksand. Our psychological lives are a lot like that. When you’re engaged in fighting for your life, living your life is actually pushed aside

The alternative — a little dangerous to say aloud because at this point it can be misunderstood — is to accept pain. Acceptance, as I am using here is not the same as self-defeat; neither is it tolerating and putting up with your pain. It is very different from that. In fact, that type of negative acceptance is a far cry from the vibrant form of acceptance of the moment that I teach.

For now, try to think of throwing away the impulse to meet power with power, tension with more tension. Pain is an inescapable fact of life. However, I define suffering as pain mixed with tension. Pain can be accepted and even used to transform our suffering. However, if we’re adding tension to pain, then we’re suffering. Pain is pain — it’s there. We have what’s there and then we have what we bring to the table. Add tension to pain and you have deep suffering.

Most of us haven’t had much training in the active form of acceptance that I attempting to illustrate here. I want to ask you to keep an open mind and thank your mind for whatever it says this term means, but don’t try to pigeonhole it right now. This for of acceptance is difficult to describe, and learning to be willing to have and live your own experience is something I will focus on a little later in this series. In the meantime, be patient and open — as well as a little skeptical — about what your mind might right now be guessing what I mean.




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