Moving Beyond Suffering

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Beautiful State V. Suffering

I was recently listening to an old Tim Ferriss Show Podcast, which featured Tony Robbins. During the podcast, Tony and Tim discuss the two states of being; A beautiful state and suffering. During our lives we are in one or the other. One cannot be suffering just a little bit, but still be living in a beautiful state.

Initially this sounded odd to me; having only two options of mental status. However, the more I thought about this the more true this idea became. In it’s simplest form, we can be happy or we can be unhappy, but you can’t ultimately be both at the same time; one emotional state is going to be stronger than the other. You can have moments throughout the day where you vacillate between the two; however, you cannot simultaneously be both.

The Roots of Suffering

What is causing you pain and suffering? If I were to ask you this, for some people the question would be instantly apparent. Maybe you hate your job and dread going to work every day. Perhaps you struggle with body image or maintaining healthy habits; the possibilities of what is causing you anguish or suffering is unique to you. However, if you are living in suffering, than you can’t be living in joy. We must learn handle these situations in a healthy way, so we can learn to move forward.

For those who don’t feel as though they are living in a beautiful state, but don’t understand where their suffering is coming from, it can be harder to figure out how to move from your current state of being, to a beautiful state, or happiness. However, when we can’t control what is happening around us, it’s important to remember what we can control; our reactions, expectations, and attitude. Once we begin to understand our judgments of our situations, and take a step back to logically evaluate a situation, we are more able to understand what is causing our strife.

I recently posted about the book, Can’t Hurt Me; David Goggins is a prime example of understanding struggle and suffering; and the importance of changing your mindset in order to reach a place of satisfaction. Throughout his story, he faced significant amounts of suffering, but once he changed his mindset, he moved past suffering and into a state of joy and perseverance. He pushed his mindset beyond suffering to a state of deliriously singing while being beaten by waves in the ocean during grueling training. Despite his grueling situation, his altered mindset helped push him past the suffering and into satisfaction.

Change Your Perceptions

When it is difficult to find where the struggle is emanating from, it’s important to look internally. Even if you don’t want to acknowledge where the suffering is coming from, we generally on some level know. Coming to a place of true self-awareness and mindfulness will allow you evaluate where the root of pain or anguish is coming from, even when you may not want to admit it to yourself. As Tony describes it, any emotion that moves us out of a beautiful state, is suffering.

Further, our own judgments lead to our suffering. Our perception of our reality, or anticipation of future events lead us away from the potential of an extraordinary life. It was Seneca, who said “We suffer more often in imagination than in reality.” Meaning, we can be so caught up in the potential of possible suffering (anxiety), we cause ourselves more pain and anguish than in actuality.

Our perceptions and expectations can also initiate suffering, instead of leading us to a state of joy and happiness. I once heard Tony Robbins say that you have to “change your expectations for appreciation.” At its roots, this means that if you can alter your perceptions and expectations of a situations, than you will suffer less. You will find something to be grateful for, instead of passing negative judgment on the situation. If we can move out of our suffering and pain, and into a beautiful state, that is where the good stuff happens. As simplistic as it sounds, I constantly preach the importance of an “Attitude of Gratitude” to anyone who will listen.

Move to a Beautiful State

Everyday we have to opportunity to choose how we get to live. We have the choice to wake up and have an optimistic attitude, and create an extraordinary life, or we have to opportunity to stay stuck. Even when life is hard, and times are hard, we have choices. We may not to be able to control everything, but we can control our outlook. We can take steps to end our suffering, to lessen it’s burden. We can choose to take the “Third Path” and use adversity as an advantage. Life isn’t happening to us, it’s happening for us. If we can change our perception of suffering as an opportunity to learn, then we are given the opportunity to grow. We can move beyond suffering, and control our own happiness.

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