\ Suffering is Optional | Christina Brandt

Daily OM (www.dailyom.com) has been sending me a Rumi poem each day for almost a year now.  Lately, they’re really resonating with me.  Here’s one that reminds me of the questions I so often ask my clients:  “What’s perfect about this moment?” and “ What is this here to teach you?

Suffering is a treasure, for it conceals mercies;
The almond becomes fresh when you peel off the rind.
O my brother, staying in a cold dark place
And bearing patiently the grief, weakness, and pain
Is the Source of Life and the cup of Abandon!
The heights are found only in the depths of abasement;
Spring is hidden in autumn, and autumn pregnant with spring.
Flee neither; be the friend of Grief, accept desolation,
Hunt for the life that springs from the death of yourself.

– Jalal-ud-Din Rumi

A wise therapist once said to me “Suffing is optional.”  Even when it seems as though it’s not, we’ve always got a choice in how to feel about it.   It’s sad to lose someone you love, for example.  Grieving the loss is important and necessary.  Leaning into the grief, rather than fighting it, allows you to eventually be at peace.

When you tell stories about the loss, however, you may be creating unnecessary suffering.  “I should have been there when he or she died,” or “I didn’t do enough for them,” or “He’ll never know how much I cared” are all examples of  “dirty” pain – pain that’s caused by our thoughts and not by the actual loss we’ve experienced.

When we fight the reality of the circumstances at hand, we cause ourselves unnecessary suffering, too.  If you hear yourself starting a sentence with any of the following phrases, be alert:

  • I (or they) shouldn’t
  • I (or they) should
  • I can’t
  • I have to

There’s usually a lie coming, fast and furious.  When we believe that we or others have to, should, can’t, or shouldn’t do something – instead of believing that we/they choose to, or choose not to, we create  a state of powerlessness.  That’s a great way to choose suffering…if you want to!  😉

Leave a Comment