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Managing Suffering

As the Dalai Lama notes in his great book, The Art of Happiness, all creatures suffer, perhaps none more so than mankind. While much suffering – especially for humans – is self-imposed (see previous blogs on how to enhance happiness), this amazing earth we live on also giveth and taketh away….

In a time of great natural tragedies that are going on around us, be it the hurricanes/floods in TX, FL and the Caribbean, or other natural disasters throughout the world, it can be almost impossible to fully relate to such grand scale suffering from afar. Recently I spilled water on my computer; it fried and almost ‘ruined’ my week. Imagine if that were my entire home, all my belongings, soaked beyond recognition by a flood.

One technique to practice from time to time is that of Tonglen. This is a Buddhist breathing/meditation technique where you receive the suffering of others in order to offer them relief. It can be an individual you know, or a group at large that you have read about but never met. This practice may seem ‘out there’ but ultimately, if you really take a step back and look at the big picture, we are all made of the same energy. Who is to say that if you exert or receive certain energy, it cannot have an impact (good or bad) for another human being?

There are different ways to offer solace to those in need. A donation, a prayer, a positive thought. Consider adding this technique into your repertoire. If you believe that ultimately the universe, and all things living, are made up of energy (which I’m pretty sure along with global warming is a scientific fact!), then put some positive energy out there in the Universe and see what comes of it! More specifically, accept the suffering energy of others into your being if you have the capacity to do so in a time where your circumstances are positive and the other person(s) are in a moment of weakness and in need of relief.

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