We’ve just returned from sitting outside being warmed by the log burning in the chimnea on our roof terrace. Darkness has come and this chilly winter night has a biting coldness to it………….I’m watching the log burning away from inside our apartment through the glass doors on to the terrace and I’m thinking about a phrase that regularly comes to mind, a phrase that I try to live by and that I encourage others to live by – ‘the words we speak, create the world we live in.’
For a few months I have been living with a lot of physical pain due to an old leg injury. I can’t deny that sometimes I’ve let myself be defined by my physical pain……….and then this creeping realisation has come upon me that if all I talk about is my physical pain this becomes the sum of who I am and I enter into this kind of ‘pity party’ state of mind. I am reminded of the teachings of the Buddha here, whose advice was to make friends with our pain – be it physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual or a combination of these four states of being. The Buddha said that being impacted by pain was like being shot with an arrow and that our feelings around being impacted by pain – whether that is feeling sorry for ourselves, denial of our pain, feeling that the Universe or God is somehow punishing us because of the pain we feel……………well this he said, is like being shot with a second arrow.
If we can find ways to simply be with our pain, befriend it and simply feel it then we can often lessen the impact of being shot with the first arrow. We become more than our pain, as we find the other more positive things in our lives that sit alongside our feelings of pain……….such as an appreciation for the gift of life, knowing that we are liked or well loved, appreciating the interests or talents we have, feeling compassion and empathy for others, feeling our connection with this beautiful planet we inhabit and finding ‘that of God’ in others and ourselves. When we allow ourselves only to be dominated by a negative set of thoughts – our words, our vocabulary often narrowly defines the sum of ourselves and our world becomes rather limited(of course there are times when our mental health and physical health requires specialist medical help and support).
I’m going into the roaring 20’s with a commitment to positively embrace that phrase ‘the words I speak, create the world I live in!’ I want to see all the richness in my life that sits alongside the pain and suffering, the joy and the concerns, the stuff I’m good and competent at and the challenges. I invite you all to do the same. Let’s get curious about life individually and collectively as a spiritual community.
Happy New Year.
With love and warm wishes,