We struggle to find the way to stop struggling. It’s like the word trying – inherent in the word trying is a subtle level of resistance. If I’m trying to breathe, I’m probably not actually getting a lot of air. So how do we stop struggling without a struggle?
Unfortunately, the only way to stop struggling is to intimately get to know the struggle. It’s the opposite of what we desire: To bring the struggle closer. Yet whether we’re talking about suffering or struggling, it’s the same. The only way to stop struggling is by understanding the struggle, going through the struggle, getting curious about the struggle. How can we cease to struggle if we don’t understand the struggle from the start? You can’t fix something if you don’t know how it works!
Struggle (that’s starting to feel like a made up word) stems from our attachment to our emotions and feelings. We’re attached, we’re identified to the thoughts in our mind and the sensations in our bodies. Instead of them passing through, we grab hold of them and fight them.
What does that really mean?
We can only understand through experience. And the best way I know how to experience this phenomenon is using the tool of meditation.
It is when we are still, when we are quietly sitting in silence, that we can truly understand what it means to grasp, to hold onto, to be carried by our thoughts and emotions, to know that they are laying the bricks down one by one to our path of suffering. We eliminate all other distractions so that we can witness the mind at work.
This can only happen by developing the awareness to see it. And how do we become aware? How do we bring what’s unconscious into consciousness, the darkness into the light? By sitting in that silence because silence is where wisdom lives.
Through the discipline of sitting, focusing the mind on stillness, we can witness the interworking of our unconscious experiences. Seeing how the mind and body create thoughts and sensations that we end up using to distort our reality and create illusions. It happens so quickly, so unconsciously, that it takes practice to start to undo this habitual suffering. And once we practice time and time again, we start to become aware of these subtle, yet profound, nuances in our every day life. This is where the work truly begins.
Give this short meditation a try: