Responding to Pain


'The Buddha was once asked, “What is the wise way of responding to suffering?” He answered by explaining the possible paths of response, some that would lead to complexity and increased suffering, and others that would lead to compassion and the end of suffering. He spoke of the path of despair and powerlessness that only leads to a darkness of heart. “Why is this happening to me? Life is unfair.” He spoke of the path of blame and the agitation and disconnection that follow in the wake of blame. “It is your fault, it is you who made me suffer.” He spoke of the path of guilt, the exaggerated sense of responsibility that claims all suffering as personal failure. “It is my fault, my inadequacy that has brought this sorrow.” He spoke too of the path of investigation, the compassionate exploration of sorrow and struggle; and exploration that is concerned not so much with denying suffering, as with understanding its cause and its end. It is an exploration that acknowledges that not all pain can be eradicated, but that there may be a way of discovering freedom within the painful and the end of suffering. This is the path of compassionate simplicity.

Compassion is concerned with bringing to stillness the agitation and fear of our own hearts, bridging the gap of disconnection, separation, and distance. It does not mean that pain will always disappear or that we will discover a solution to every dispute and conflict. We cannot always fix every moment of distress, but we can always be present, awake, and receive each moment with compassion and simplicity.

Faced with difficult, painful situations and people in our lives, our minds and hearts become ensnared in frenzied attempts to find a solution or explanation. In the efforts we make to alter, modify, and fix, we begin caught up in a despair that leads to avoidance or suppression. Our compassion, that leads us to reach out, to help, and heal, is hijacked by the desperate desire to make pain disappear. Too often we are left feeling frustrated and powerless. Some years ago, a gunman burst into a school and opened fire on a classroom of children. Amid the devastating grief and bewilderment that followed, a journalist asked the parish priest, “How do you explain what has happened here? You’re a religious leader and many people feel that they are in need of an explanation. How could this happen, how could someone do this?” The priest answered, “To try to explain this event is not the way. This is not the time for trying to understand something of this order.” There is not always an answer or a satisfactory explanation for the pain in the world. Suffering is held most fully in a still, receptive, responsive silence. The words of healing, the responses of courage and wisdom, are born of that simplicity. Compassion is not just an accident, a random moment of openness. The still simplicity of the listening heart is always available to us; learning to let go gently of our demands for answers and solutions, liberates the heart to listen.’

- Christina Feldman, The Buddhist Path to Simplicity.

“Par les soirs bleus d’été j’irai dans les sentier
picoté par les blés, fouler l’herbe menue
rêveur, j’en sentirai la fraicheur à mes pieds.
Je laisserai le vent baigner ma tête nue
je ne parlerai pas, je ne penserai rien
Mais l’amour infini me montera dans l’âme
et j’irai loin, bien loin, comme un bohémien par la nature,
heureux, comme avec une femme.” Arthur Rimbaud, 1871
Sensation, the poem that defined the art of getting lost for so many generations of restless youth; a poem to which I returned, always, when wanderlust would come back to haunt me like a sickness

fooooodddd ♥ lol i have a horrible memory, and although i can never off-the-top-of-my-head cite statistics and create vivid imagery on whyyy veganism is the path to go, my consistent following of food blogs makes me never forget how many options are open to me:)  i’m gonna start making steel cut oats and fruit salad for breakkkfast, right now i’ve been having tofu scramble wraps and smooothies


LOL the saying really is true that money fucks EVERYTHING up with friends

“When we are young and again when we are old, we depend heavily on the affection of others. Between these stages we usually feel that we can do everything without help from others and that other people’s affection is simply not important. But at this stage I think it is very important to keep deep human affection.” Dalai Lama (via thecalminside)

(via crimson-twinkie)

“I want you to remember who you are, despite the bad things that are happening to you. Because those bad things aren’t you. They are just things that happen to you. You need to accept that who you are and the things that happen you, are not one and the same.” Colleen Hoover, Hopeless (via purplebuddhaproject)

(via crimson-twinkie)


"One day I wiped out all the notions from my mind. I gave up all desire. I disarded all the words with which I thought and stayed in quietude. I felt a little queer-as if I were being carried into somethng, or as if I were touching some power unknown to me… and Ztt! I entered. I lost the boundary of my physical body. I had my skin, of course, but I felt I was standing in the center of the cosmos. I spoke, but my words had lost their meaning. I saw people coming towards me, but all were the same man. All were myself! I had never known this world. I had believed that I was created, but now I must change my opinion: I was never created; I was the cosmos; no individual Mr. Sasaki existed. "
- Sokei-an Sasaki, modern Zen master

Lao Tzu has said, “Seek and you will miss. Do not seek and you will find.”
Now, this is one of the most significant statements ever made.
In the very seeking you have missed.
If you seek, you have taken a wrong standpoint.
In the very seeking you have accepted one thing —
that you don’t have that which you seek.
That is where the fault lies.
You have it; you already have it.
The moment you start searching for something,
you will become neurotic, because you cannot find it -
there is nowhere to look, because it is already there.
It is like a man who is searching for his glasses.
His glasses are already on his eyes, on his nose,
and he is looking through those glasses
and searching! Now he will never find them,
unless he remembers that all search is futile, unless he remembers,
“If I can see, then my glasses must be already there in front of my eyes,
otherwise how could I see?”
In our very seeing, the truth is hidden.
In our very search, the treasure is hidden.
The seeker is the sought—that is the problem,
the only problem that human beings have been trying to solve and
about which they have been growing more and more puzzled.
The sanest attitude is that of Lao Tzu. He says,
“Stop searching and be.” Just be,
and you will be surprised: You will find it!” Osho (via oceanandwave)

(via crimson-twinkie)



Robin Williams & Koko, 2001

“Robin made Koko smile — something she hadn’t done for over six months, ever since her childhood gorilla companion, Michael, passed away.”

(via cocodream)

← Older entries Page 1 of 281