Suffering, Crisis and Dysfunctional Assumptions

by Don Turner - 

Everyone experiences some difficulty, pain and grief in life. A certain amount of unhappiness is a natural part of the process and learning entailed in living. Pain triggers natural defense processes that are meant to protect us.

This can easily be seen in the case of the physical pain we experience if we touch something hot. The body instinctively pulls back because it is not good for it.

With psychological pain it is often not as easy to see the cause, although the psyche has its own instinctive way of defending itself here, too.

Often, however, the defense structures established in childhood (primarily by withdrawal, aggression or submission) become restricting when, in adults, they contribute to a rigid personality based on fear and negative assumptions that limits our ability to grow.

It can lead to a crisis if we either do not listen to the message in the pain or our beliefs do not allow us to change.

Although we may dislike this, pain actually is an opportunity for expansion and renewed life. Nature is forcing us to change--for our own benefit.

If we can think about suffering in this way -- as showing us ways we need to change to claim ourselves, our capacities and intents -- we can be more open to seeing what message it contains for us. One's inner self is invulnerable and not threatened by anything we might experience.

The places where we experience pain in our lives are therefore showing us where we are out of alignment with our inner self or have not fully realized some particular awareness or capacity we have.

We need to change and grow in this area to realize our innate potential.

As adults, we create our life as a result of our beliefs about who we are and what is real and right. Dysfunctional assumptions which were acquired when we were children may be changed as we become aware that they do not reflect what we truly are.

To summarize: As adults, we create our own suffering as a result of wrong assumptions about ourselves and life which are usually established in childhood--often as a result of normal reactions and defense processes.

Pain and suffering in adults are lessons which show us where we are out of accord with our inner self. 

We need to take responsibility for ourselves and our experience and realize that we can change by releasing old ideas and patterns which are dysfunctional.

We have the innate ability to understand the lessons our experiences hold for us and to change so that we live a harmonious and fulfilling life regardless of what difficult experiences we have had. We have the potential of living a harmonious and fulfilling life.

Most erroneous ideas of who we are assume that we have to life in fear and cannot trust ourselves or life. These assume that reality is a threat and that life is a struggle for survival where we have to use our power to get the things in the world we need and lack. 

The ideas which are in accord with our inner self are those related to love and trust where we understand that the universe is actually working for us and our benefit.

We can learn to live in harmony with it and our spirit. 

When we learn to listen to our inner knowing, life will flow more smoothly and the inevitable problems which arise will be resolved more easily, without so much trauma or crisis.

Resolving Negative Elements in One's Life

Even the most successful among us have areas or times that are not so successful or happy. Gauge whether you need to work on issues by answering the following questions.
  • Do you sometimes loose control or do things you know you shouldn't?
  • Do you have habits you'd like to change but haven't been able to?
  • Do you sometimes experience resentments, jealousy, hatred, shame, self-condemnation, pride, anxieties or other negative emotions?
  • Do you feel frustrated at times or feel there are some things you are still missing?
  • Do you notice a lack of interest or meaning in your life at times?
  • Do you feel blocked in realizing some important goal or dream?
  • Have you lost touch with your passion and joy or your idealism?
  • Is your life motivated by fears and defensive reactions -- security, possessions, power, etc.?
  • Are you less than totally happy and fulfilled?
  • Are many of your relationships not loving ones?
  • Do you sometimes feel victimized by people or circumstances or blame others a lot?
  • Do you look to other people to tell you what is right or true?
  • Are you little involved in your community?

If you have said yes to some of these questions -- congratulations, you're honest. Since as adults we are responsible for creating our experience, negativity of any sort means we have core beliefs, assumptions and issues to become conscious of, clarify and resolve.

To the extent that we overlook this naturally unpleasant and painful side of life, we shall thus continue to be affected by it no matter how much attention we place on our positive and happy interests in life.

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