There is a belief that suffering is required for growth.
If what we believe is what we see, then this is an equation that requires suffering for growth.
If the concept of energy is that we create what we attend to then learning through joy allows for more joyous experiences and is a paradigm shift that may allow for a change in our experience of suffering.
Choosing to learn through joy may result in less suffering – not that less bad things will happen to us, but rather that our experience of those bad things might be less dualistic.
Ok that sounds way too easy. All this time we’ve been suffering to learn or just suffering and it turns out all we had to do was change our attitude. No way that’s true – right?
Turns out it may be.
Think about paradigm shifting and all that stuff about intention, attention, perspective, and perception. How we see the world is what we attend to, what our foundational beliefs are, and how/what we perceive others are trying to communicate, and whether we feel safe enough to remain in the present to really interact with the other.
Think about the child dealing with her peer’s power issues; she could feel victimized or she could respond by increasing her understanding of that individual and the relationship. Maybe she would choose to hang out with someone else until the first girl could be more inclusive in her playing-style – not demonizing the girl or victimizing herself in perception. She’s learning to be a thriver rather than learning to be a victim. Learning through joy rather than suffering – her interpretation is to focus on internal strength rather than power over.
If we believe that we have to suffer in order to learn, that things of importance need to be difficult, and that we have to really get knocked out before we really learn – well then it stands to reason that that will be the life we will lead.
We partially create our experiences by our habit reaction patterns and fear paradigm perceptions. It’s only through being neutral we can then interpret data without bias.
Mostly it’s pretty difficult to keep bias out of the equation so I like to put that joyous spin on the whole thing – rather than feeling suffering as the teacher I suggest we may want to go for joy.
Most of our religions actually have a bias toward suffering as being the best teacher. So it makes it difficult to make this internal shift, because our cultures have this suffering=learning imprint.
Even so, I encourage you to try this yourself. Make a statement to yourself that you’re going to learn through joy and focus on the positive of situations as much as you can. Look for where you connect with someone so you can feel less defensive in your interaction with them – you can still disagree and hold to your principles but you don’t have to feel you are in a negative position when trying to achieve what you feel is best.
And as Steven Covey of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People would say go for win-win or no deal. His book is for managers and business negotiation but I use it all the time in marriage counseling because he sets up a set of principles for negotiation that serve all parties involved – and it results in a reduction in resentment at the end of a negotiation and an increase in true connection between parties.
His perception is that compromise is always a function of one individual or group giving away something that matters to them. That is not true negotiation.
Figure out what matters to you and don’t compromise that away – then you will always feel win-win or no deal. Back to the example of the young girl – she chooses no deal – to play with someone else until the power relationship is not power over with the first girl. This is neutral and doesn’t lead to victim scenarios.
See you tomorrow.
February 26, 2010 at 7:46 pm
Two points: From a fairly simple viewpoint, you usually find what you are looking for because you dismiss most other things. Look for sadness and you tend to ignore joy. Look for struggle and easy ways don’t seem hard enough.
And I’ve found that it isn’t so much that life is difficult but that it’s never as easy as some people think it should be. I think life is somewhat difficult because you have to work for a lot of things and understanding ‘everything’ isn’t easy or automatic either. But once you understand something and know how to do it, it becomes a Lot easier. The more you understand and the more you know how to do, life becomes easier.
I’ve met too many people that think that they can figure out everything in their own minds. That’s simply not true. Most things in life were created, invented, and decided by other people. Look at what they have done and ask them whenever possible. I have been accused of ‘always being right’. I tell them I just try to look things up before I open my mouth. Almost everything I know I got from someone else.
Look for knowledge and find it. Look for understanding and competence and find them. The cool part of that is that once you find these things, you get to make them yours.
February 27, 2010 at 12:10 am
Dave, I am glad to have you participating in this conversation! Beth