Our Mind Places Barriers

Our Mind Places Barriers

“The intensity of the pain depends on the degree of resistance to the present moment.”— Eckhart Tolle

The disciples were involved in a heated discussion on the cause of human suffering. Some said it came from selfishness. Others, from delusion. Yet others, from the inability to distinguish the real from the unreal. When the Master was consulted, he said: “All suffering comes from a person’s inability to sit still and be alone.” There is great truth that being alone in silence is a worthwhile antidote to overcome the weight of human suffering. We languish in sorrow because outside events unsettle our sense of stability. When intense or negative emotions arise, there is a tendency to escape them. This could be attributed to the view that negative emotions should be tossed aside and not confronted.

The nature of reality is filled with pain and suffering. Interspersed are moments of joy and happiness to the degree that no untoward condition is permanent. It is how we respond to the difficult times that points the way to our personal growth. I enjoy the message by spiritual teacher Pema Chodron who writes in When Things Fall Apart, affirms: “Life is a good teacher and a good friend. Things are always in transition, if we could only realize it.” We accept life’s unfolding events by allowing experiences to move through us with unreserved patience. The moment you resist pain, it pushes against you with an overpowering force until you concede.

Have you experienced this before? The more you resisted, the more intense the suffering? Our darkest hour, however frightening can never extinguish the illuminating radiance of our being. Consider it to dimming the lights inside our home while it’s still daylight outside. Even through concealed curtains, the light still penetrates the dark. Striving, longing and expecting are ways the mind places barriers around our happiness. We never know what life will bring, so we let go of fixed outcomes and trust conditions will advance of their own accord. When we resist life, we are called to surrender to the unfolding conditions. In the moment we concede to universal intelligence, we merge with the natural order of events. When pain emerges, we must drop into it instead of resisting it. Why? Because our resistance signifies our opposition to life. It is our resistance to what is that is the source of suffering, not the pain itself.

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