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I was dealing with the shame and surprise of hurting another.  It was a stupid thing really, an impossible situation that couldn’t be helped and the words spilled out of my mouth and I watched helplessly as the shadow of misery crossed  her face.  I asked prayerfully for a practice to help me in the face of this suffering I had caused and the suffering “I” was experiencing in being the bearer of such harshness, however unintended.

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The Awful, Beautiful Truth

I had this conversation with my husband soon after my verbal debacle:

Me:  I don’t like to see people suffer. (especially if I caused it)

Husband: People suffer.  Get over it.

Me:  I don’t like it though!

Husband: That’s like saying “I don’t like the sky being blue or the days getting shorter or the leaves falling”  People suffer. You don’t like it–too f’ing bad!  Get over it.  Suffering happens, yours and other people’s.

“OH!” I thought, “Here is my practice.”  This time, my husbands words were the Voice of Love for me.  Notice:  Suffering IS.  Extend acceptance, innocence, being to the thought of suffering.  As soon as I heard “Suffering IS” I relaxed and quit fighting it.  In extending acceptance I wasn’t saying “Oh thanks so much” but more “OH, this really hurts.  It really, really hurts and that is ok.”  In extending innocence I simply noticed the hurt and knew that it was completely innocent, meant no harm and would not last forever.  In extending being to the suffering I honored its presence and let it BE for as long as it needed to BE, ie, I allowed the hurt space without my agenda of getting rid of it quick smart.  In the space that “Suffering IS” created I found myself much more relaxed, open, and gentle with the idea of suffering.  In my rush to brush it away I didn’t see the necessary beauty in it nor accept the gift of stillness and truth.

I continue my practice of “Suffering IS” anytime I notice I am suffering, either with the effects of too much greasy fish and chips or with the news of a TB diagnosis with one of my children.  Suffering is.  I am.  God is.  Love is.

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