Self-Discovery and Suffering
August 19, 2014
I have been wanting to start a blog for a while.
I consider myself a private person, with private thoughts and actions. I find myself sharing some fibers of my mind when I have conversations with my closest friends. They deal with my sporadic nature, and apparently like the things I have to say. More often than not, I spew out words, pieces of “wisdom” I did not know I had. Sometimes conversations are a form of self-discovery, on top of the knowledge imparted from the other people involved. I find myself following my own advice, not realizing that advice in me existed, because I had to process it in my mind and put it into language during conversation. I hope to achieve the same in my writing. Just as I have no idea what conversation I am about to have with another person, I have no idea what conversation I will have with my mind now. The plan is to open up a part of me that has otherwise been unknown to others, and walk hand-in-hand with self-discovery.
I had a super rough year. I had to keep asking myself what suffering was, and why we even want to find meaning in it. How do you get out of that hole that keeps getting bigger and bigger, and is it the situation digging the hole, or your own self? I believe we all have these questions, because suffering exists, and will exist for as long as we live. The answer to ending the suffering, came when I went to the Pender Island Flute Retreat. Out of all the amazing workshops and masterclasses we did, the one that struck me most was the walking meditation. We were on Pender Island, in the Enchanted Forest (appropriately named), outside the pathway to the lake. The directions were to go when we felt like going, stopping to observe when compelled to, or even to stay there if it feels right. We were to be guided by our own intuition, not making eye contact or conversation with any other person. Other people were simply “trees in the forest.” That oddly made me feel at ease.
What I discovered was immediately apparent. When given the chance, our curiosity sparks. I was fascinated by plants I would otherwise walk straight past, enveloped in my own thoughts and conjured problems. I was amazed by a slug eating a piece of leaf another person had put in front of. I felt joy from nature, but most of all, from how much I wanted to observe and learn. Curiosity is such a beautiful thing. It ensures I am a different person every second of my life. It reminds me it’s not all about myself. No matter how much I thought I noticed walking toward the lake, I couldn’t find the same thing on the way back, peppered by my changing perspective. Each living second is spent noticing the world through changed eyes, and with curiosity, we will want to keep noticing.
I started my journey because I refused to believe sadness, suffering, and worse yet, boredom was inherent in human nature. I was curious on what I could learn about the science of happiness, and the ways of living with Eastern culture, as well as social psychology. Why settle in my own little world, when I could see through other people’s perspectives? The next time you feel dull, go outside and be curious about something simple, like how a slug would eat a leaf. Spark that curiosity.
My answer to the second question is, I think suffering revolves around the self. I daresay some of us in first world countries suffer more than some in third world countries. This is not to say it is any easier to minimize suffering, though I know it feels better for me, to know my mind is the one in control, and I can turn it around with proper training. This also means we cannot control another person’s suffering. Take charge of your own, and you may have hope of guiding others.