Monday, May 21, 2012

You Are Not Alone

Mingyur Rinpoche on the Two Basic Kinds of Suffering
(only five minutes, but very powerful simple explanation, especially of self-suffering)

Underneath, most of us think we suck.
Most of us think we are an exception.
Meditation won't help us.
Yoga won't help us.
Medication won't help us.
Because we are beyond repair.
Beyond help.

Lately, I have come to realize how much of a drain this part of me is.
This part that takes tremendous energy to sustain - a lot of the energy I think I don't have to do things to help pull me out of the cycle. It's reiterative, a closed loop.
It's Samsara. 90% of our suffering is what Mingyur Rinpoche, in the video above, calls self-suffering.

Self-hatred and self-doubt are self-suffering.
Self-absorption and selfishness are self-suffering.
But they aren't just suffering because you don't help others when you feel them -
they are suffering for you.
Because you don't help you. And if you don't help you, you aren't of much help to others.

When I doubt I can help someone, that self-doubt is very deeply stemmed.
When I doubt I can get it done, it ties to self-hatred and the self-hatred tells me things like:
You can't ever do enough.
Don't even try.
And, by the way, you are alone in this. 
No one else has this problem. 
So don't show them, don't ask for help yourself, or they will see you are weak.
And when they see you are weak, they won't love you.

What does yours say?
No, really. 
Listen closely. 
Because there is a conversation in there that keeps your suffering going and it is tied to your deepest fears and hopes.

And it is a lie.
You are lying to yourself.
This is self-deception, the root cause of self-suffering.

Brene Brown talks about Shame. What I am talking about is also shame,
or shame has such similar effects.
When we experience Shame, we freeze and don't act. We become self-absorbed and self-pitying. We think "this is awful, the worst thing ever, and it's all my fault." Only we don't take responsibility, we just feel shitty. And then we don't open up to others because we fear how shitty we are, that they will see it and shun us and we'll be really alone.

But only the self-isolationist policies of shame keep us alone, and even then, we aren't actually alone.
We just think we are.
And that thinking keeps us acting as if we are alone, further proving the self-fulfilling prophecy.

Do you see?
The jig is up.
The self-deception of shame and self-hatred tells a story that is untrue. 
It keeps us from seeing that we are the very thing it claims it wants us to be:
Fundamentally OK.

We are still ok while we are ashamed, still ok while we are hating ourselves, but we won't believe it.
And as long as we won't believe it, we are crippled. I don't use that word lightly - we are literally limited, and crumpled to the ground. Not in-a-wheelchair handicapped, but unable to act, entirely, altogether.

And we do it to ourselves.
With a lot of media and social support.
But yes, we do it to ourselves.

Please do what you can to catch these stories in action and question them.
The world needs you to listen to yourself.
This isn't "another thing to do" - this is attention to your messengers, listening to your Inner Firefighters and alarmists and children and the chorus of people inside your head making your decisions - most keenly, deciding who you are every second of every day.
This is effort that will lead to less effort.
Struggle that leads to less suffering.
It doesn't matter how you do it - prayer, meditation, yoga, walking every day, writing, photography.
Whatever helps you begin to see what is really going on - in the world and inside yourself.

Please wake up.
We need you.
We need you, the world does, to know you are fundamentally good.
That you can make a difference.
That you are suffering and that it is not your fault but that only you can stop it.

Read. Ask questions. Practice. Help. Connect to others. Be vulnerable.

Thank you.


  1. Years ago, I kept a little notebook with me and wrote down all the terrible, negative thoughts I had about myself. It was alarming to see them all there in black and white. I did this for months. Once I started really listening, I realized I was thinking these thoughts day in and day out. I hardly had time to do anything else. And these thoughts were really never true. They were outright lies or gross exaggerations. So then I would rewrite each thought to be true, accurate, gentle, and positive. And, wow, did it feel better to be in my skin that way. You wouldn't believe the change in me and in my life overe the course of that practice. It was truly eye opening.

  2. Dear Miriam

    Thank you for this message. I feel the truth of what you are saying, I used the words "I feel ashamed" to someone by text when I had to back out of an event I was meant to attend that he had organised I used my blog to try uncover what leads me to the downward spiral and, now I have read your blog, I feel it might be worth me sharing this blog entry with him, to connect with him and so he knows that I have not remained in the misery.
    Thank you
    Warm wishes