inHabitude

Inspiration & insights from the path toward happiness & wisdom from a yogi and Christian mystic.

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My Yoga Practice

UY108 the Future of YOGA!

The Four Reminders

Joyful to have
Such a human birth,
Difficult to find,
Free and well-favored.

But death is real,
Comes without warning.
This body
Will be a corpse.

Unalterable
Are the laws of karma;
Cause and effect
Cannot be escaped.

Samsara
Is an ocean of suffering,
Unendurable,
Unbearably intense.

Composed by the Vidyadhara Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, 1974

Pain teaches a most counterintuitive thing—that we must go down before we even know what up is. It is first an ordinary wound before it can become a sacred wound. Suffering of some sort seems to be the only thing strong enough to destabilize our arrogance and our ignorance. I would define suffering very simply as “whenever you are not in control.”

All healthy religion shows you what to do with your pain. If we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it. If your religion is not showing you how to transform your pain, it is junk religion.

Richard Rohr

Exploring our actions & livelihood as part of the Eightfold Path that promotes well-being. A talk by Lyndon at Cenla Meditation Group on 5/7/13.

What is suffering really?

The pali word dukkha is most often translated as “suffering.” Thanissaro Bhikku says that “stress” is another word for it. I think it’s also a word that most Westerners can more readily relate to. Dukkha is a general sense of unease, a wheel off its axle. It’s like that wheel on the shopping cart that just doesn’t seem to roll right and makes it shake. 

With that perspective in mind most of us can more easily practice the First Noble Truth of recognizing suffering or stress in our lives, perhaps even at finer levels. It’s not just tragedy that causes suffering, but also the small stresses that arise from resisting our lives as they unfold in the minutia of daily life that really wear us down the most over time.

The Passion - Lyndon Marcotte

Lyndon Marcotte - The Passion

My sermon this morning on The Passion of Jesus from John 18-19. I discussed why Protestants need crucifixes, Mary, Lectio Divina, the necessity of suffering, and the humanity of Christ. I don’t know why my congregation keeps saying that I’m “the most Catholic Baptist preacher” they’ve ever heard :)

269 Plays | Download

Our suffering and our wounds have a remarkable way of unlocking the door to authenticity.

John Chryssavgis

Is all of life really suffering?

The first noble truth is that life contains suffering. The important distinction is that Buddha did not say that all of life is suffering, but it does contain suffering. Some people experience more pain and heartache than others. It is tempting to say that everything is bad and there is nothing good, to make our problems larger than life and define ourselves by our experiences.

By realizing that life contains suffering but is not completely suffering, it provides a little space between the self, we think we are, and what happens to us and around us. Meaning that these are things we go through and experience, but they are not who we are. They may shape us and affect our life, but they do not define who we are in the stillness and silence. 

Impermanent doesn’t necessarily mean temporary. Suffering may persist, but it will not last.

Encouragement for one who is hurting

My private reply to a question from someone having a difficult time: I’m very sorry to hear that you are hurting so deeply. If you could see yourself the way God sees you, I believe you would smile. You are loved, desired, believed in, hoped for, and cared for. Although it may not always feel like it when we get distracted by the problems we face. Within you there is a stillness and silence that you can return to anytime as often as you want. There you will find contentment and purpose. When we develop our capacity to let go, it doesn’t mean we don’t care or that we are unaffected by what happens to us. We care and feel deeply, perhaps even more deeply, but we choose to let go because we can. It’s a choice we can make. We can let go of pain, anger, fear, vengeance, jealousy… In letting go there is freedom and power to choose. You don’t have to live as a victim of circumstance or on autopilot responding to external stimuli. You can be present, be happy, at peace, and whole. You have that capacity and that choice, and no one can take that away from you. I wish you well. May you be safe. May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you live with ease. _/|\_

The more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer, because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you, in proportion to your fear of being hurt. The one who does most to avoid suffering is, in the end, the one who suffers most.

Thomas Merton, “The Seven Storey Mountain”

We all dread the helplessness of losing control, and yet real freedom lies in recognizing the futility of demanding that life be within our control. Instead, we must learn the willingness to feel, to say yes to the experience of helplessness itself. This is one of the hidden gifts of serious illness or loss. It pushes us right to our edge, where we may have the good fortune to realize that our only real option is to surrender to our experience and let it just be.

Ezra Bayda, “The Three Things We Fear Most”

We all dread the helplessness of losing control, and yet real freedom lies in recognizing the futility of demanding that life be within our control. Instead, we must learn the willingness to feel—to say yes to—the experience of helplessness itself. This is one of the hidden gifts of serious illness or loss. It pushes us right to our edge, where we may have the good fortune to realize that our only real option is to surrender to our experience and let it just be.

Ezra Bayda

Dealing with estrangement from parents

My response to a question about dealing with the pain of being estranged from one’s parents:

I’m sorry that you’re hurting. You have a beautiful spirit and so much love to give.

The desire to love your parents, to seek their approval, and to honor them is noble and the development of thousands of years of evolutionary biology. Meaning, you can’t just turn that desire off or remove it from who you are. That is not a bad thing, but like all unfulfilled desires they can cause suffering when we don’t or can’t let them go.

It seems that you have at least two sources of suffering in your life. First, the pain caused by your parents’ choices, and perhaps even worse, you are suffering because you don’t know how to process that pain and go on with your life.  

You are hurt. You have every right to be hurt. If you weren’t hurt, I would question your sanity. Allow yourself to feel what you are feeling. Don’t push it away or run from it. 

The first step in dealing with pain or suffering is to 1) Recognize it. “Something doesn’t feel right.” 2) Accept it. “I know that I am hurting.” 3) Embrace it. Thich Nhat Hanh says that we are to embrace our suffering the way a mother holds her newborn baby. “I see my pain. I know that you are there, and I will take care of you.” 4) Look deeply into our pain. Only when we accept and embrace our pain, can we really hold it close and look deeply into it. I think that means sitting with it as it is. Not trying to fix it, not trying to run away from it. Just letting it be. Feeling it. Breathing into it and out of it. Locating it in our body. “How does this feel in my body? Where is this pain manifesting inside me?” It will appear in physical sensations, feelings, thoughts, and relationships. “How is this pain being expressed in my life up till now?” 5) Gain insight into our suffering. When we work with our difficulties rather than running from them, only then do we make peace with our pain. It does not mean that it is okay, or what happened to us is okay, but it means that in spite of our pain, we are okay and will be okay. We can have pain but not be our pain. We can go through difficult circumstances, breathe through them, and continue carrying on our lives. We can have joy, peace, and happiness even though we have experienced pain. 

It is not easy or quick, but it is possible. No one can make you suffer without your consent. They may hurt you, but they cannot make you suffer. Only you can do that. You are the only one who can free you from your suffering. The answers you seek, lie within. 

Sending you love and light. May you be safe. May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you live with ease.

Don’t wait until you have no more suffering before allowing yourself to be happy.

Thich Nhat Hanh

We suffer because we marry our instinctive aversion to pain to the deep-seated belief that life should be free from pain. In resisting our pain by holding this belief, we strengthen just what we’re trying to avoid. When we make pain the enemy, we solidify it. This resistance is where our suffering begins.

Ezra Bayda, “When It Happens to Us”

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