If the sun didn't shine on the earth then the other side of the world wouldn't have night. Think how many wonderful things there are in the darkness of night…? There are nocturnal animals and stars, city lights and cool air; stars reflected in still ponds and the nightingale’s song, there is rest and sleep and dreams. Imagine freshly fallen raindrops hanging from the tip of every leaf of a tree and in every drop is the reflection of the dark night and the full moon. Without the dark of night we wouldn't have many wonderful and beautiful things. The night also is full of shadows and lurking fears, of things that can’t be seen; of shrieking bats and spider webs, slimy slugs and things obscene.
Life is made up of experiences, some that make us feel glad and others that make us feel bad. Sometimes something happens in life that feels so bad it feels like your heart is going to crack and your body wants to die. But guess what? If you can teach your mind to look at negative experiences in the right way you will not only get over them but they will make you a stronger and better person.
We all have bad experiences in life but we can use them as a catalyst to change life into something brighter. It takes practice, start small: in the midst of a calamity see a tiny thing of beauty, a butterfly or an interesting leaf, a sunny sky and puffy clouds, the sound of rain or someone’s smile. Let it bring you into the moment, each moment is easier to deal with than the stories created in your mind of what might be or what may have happened.
Turn on the light in a dark room and the darkness is gone, the room is filled with light, if it wasn’t dark in the first place you would have no need to turn on a light because you would already be able to see. If we didn’t have dark times in our lives, we wouldn’t recognize the bright times. There is a comparison for us in experiences that cause us pain with experiences that bring us happiness. Search for the positive in the negative experience then the negative experience can have a positive reaction. If you can learn a positive lesson from a negative experience then the negative experience isn’t really negative at all, it’s positive because it has taught you a valuable lesson. If you don’t learn from a negative experience, if you can’t find some positive reason for its happening, then it can only remain negative, you won’t grow or learn and will probably repeat the same mistake over again till you eventually learn, if you never learn you will stay on the treadmill of negative existence.
Don’t try to deny hurt and pain, pushing it away will only make it stronger. We naturally gravitate to what makes us feel good and repel what makes us feel bad. Try the opposite, embrace it. It's not a good idea to smack a crying child in an effort to sooth them, you would cuddle them, nurture them and say comforting things. That is what you need to do to feelings that make you feel bad. Say you are feeling grief because someone you loved has died, you're feeling lost and alone and sad. These emotions don’t make you feel good and it seems that the natural thing to do is to try and push them away or block them out because you don’t like feeling bad. Instead of looking at the death and thinking about the loved one, look at how you are feeling, look at your grief. By looking at the emotion objectively it looses its power and fades away. It takes practice. Look at the emotion, not the event that has caused the pain. It is natural to feel pain, embrace it, notice the feeling and be kind to it, be kind to yourself. You can try imagining the feeling as an object or a colour or as a bubble with the feeling inside, something that you can look at. Tell yourself that it is OK to feel this way, accept the emotion, don’t try to stifle it, just let it be. After a little while, tell the feeling that you acknowledge its existence, put it in a container, a bubble, a box, whatever you visualize and put it away till later. Next time the feeling rises, bring it out of its container, look at it, acknowledge that it is there, accept it and put it away again. If you have made the emotion into a colour, change the colour.
You don’t need to hold onto emotions that hurt, you don’t need to push them away; you just need to accept them.
What if you are in a bad situation? Is there anything you can do to change the situation? If there is nothing you can do, there is no use worrying about it, worrying and obsessing over it isn't going to fix the problem nor is it going to provide a solution, it is only going to cause you the stress of worrying; there is no point, so stop worrying about it. If you are worried about something that might happen in the future, there is no point as you can’t know what the future may bring, circumstances may change and bring a favorable outcome and then you will have wasted all that time and energy worrying about nothing. If you are stressing over something in the past, there is no point, it has already happened and there is nothing you can do to change it. If there is something you can do to fix the situation, then do it! Do everything you can to fix it. If you do everything in your power to fix a situation and things don’t work out the way you envisaged, then they just weren't meant to, but you will have the knowledge that you have done your best, that you took action instead of wasting energy on pointless worry. Sometimes we need to accept that the universe has made life this way for reasons that we may not understand, trust that the universe works the way it does for a reason. It’s really strange, once you stop fighting against the tide and go with the flow, things have a way of working out for the best, differently may be to what you hoped, but ultimately for the good. Have trust and faith.
Turn the light on in the darkness of your mind. Turn suffering into happiness, embrace the suffering, look at it, learn from it, and transform it into something positive. Without negative experiences we wouldn't have the catalyst or the opportunity for the growth they offer, they aren't really negative at all, they are positive means for us to grow into happy light-filled life participants. Look at life’s experiences this way and everything you thought was bad in your life turns into something good, negative is transformed into positive.
You can’t be enlightened if you haven’t been endarkened.
Namaste Sarah Hope :)