6 Ways to Become Fully Present With Suffering

article-migration-image-man-under-tree_647x300.jpg

Life is about learning balance and how we interact with the world around us. It is a constant learning experience, to which we will become familiar with all of the emotions that a human being has, some of which are more pleasant than others.

Suffering on Earth is derived from the collective emotion held within humanity, which is why it is so important to learn to heal yourself first to help heal the planet.

As many great teachers of the past and present have taught us, often times it is not the experience itself that is the problem, it is how our human conditioning has taught us how to react. We’ve all experienced suffering in various ways.

Though it is uncomfortable and ugly, it is also very important to love each part of ourselves as human beings; to do that we have to understand the full spectrum of the human experience…the yin and the yang, the light and the dark. They co-exist together for a reason.

Aim to Be Like a Child

If you have children or have been around a small child, you will know that their experience of life is very different than yours. Their reactions are very in the moment. When they are upset, uncomfortable, or hungry they cry. There is no holding back, and no misunderstanding how they truly feel.

As we get older we learn what is considered an “acceptable” way to act in society. We learn that we can’t just have a meltdown anywhere when we are feeling upset. There are very specific circumstances that allow us to cry or feel angry, and some of us even go as far as to completely shut down our ability to feel our true emotions. I call this being “emotionally constipated!”

Babies’ ability to feel fully in the moment is a gift, because once they fully feel it, they release it instantaneously. There is no need to relive the experience later. It often takes very little to distract them with a new idea and change their emotion quickly. As we get older it is important to remember that innate wisdom within our bodies, because they react in direct correlation with the information we give them.

Fully Experience Your Emotions in the Moment

When your life is turned upside down and emotions are all over the place, take yourself into the moment and simply feel whatever disturbance is going on without resisting it. Take a chance and look silly in public if you need to.

When you can fully experience your emotions in the moment{.inline-media .inline-video} and let them wash over you, that turmoil will not collect in your body in a negative way. It is only when you deny and resist it that it collects and becomes unhealthy.

When you begin to feel imbalance in your life, the most effective way to take care of yourself is to honor where you are without judging the experience. Don’t compare yourself to others, because you are a unique individual!

Your experience is your experience, and there is no right or wrong or normal and abnormal. You are creating your body and life experience every day, and it’s unlike anyone else’s body or life experience.

6 Ways to Be Present with Suffering

Here are some steps you can take in a moment of distress and suffering to relieve yourself:

1. Stop whatever you are doing, and go inward. Listen to your body and become fully present.

Don’t try to change the way you feel in this moment. Instead, feel it for what it is without resisting it.

Say in your mind, “I honor this feeling of ______, even though it makes me uncomfortable or scared in this moment.”

Focus on the sensation, and surround yourself in a beautiful picture that feels comfortable, loving, and safe to you. I like to picture myself in a field of flowers with a soft breeze blowing through me, washing away anything that no longer serves my highest good.

2. Let the emotions fly

Let yourself go! Experience the anger, frustration, sadness, joy, excitement, fear, surprise, disgust, disapproval, remorse, and all the in-betweens. The goal is to express it.

However, it is also important to remember to make sure you are not putting anyone in danger while you are doing this. Whatever you are feeling in this moment is perfect; there is nothing wrong with it!

3. Trust any messages that come through your body as divine guidance

You might notice some sensations, ideas, or thoughts through your body as you become fully present in your experience.

When we become still, we are more receptive to receiving divine guidance from our higher selves.

Trust this loving guidance, or simply soak in this beautiful light that is holding you. We all have access to it when we call upon it.

4. Stay Present

Stay with the feeling until you feel it has fully washed over you and can be released. Take your time and don’t be tempted to rush through it.

Remember your well-being is the most important thing right now. You cannot be present with others until you are fully present with yourself.

5. Wait for Release

Just like with a baby, sometimes it takes five minutes, and sometimes two hours before we reach a point of release, but it eventually always comes.

Most of us force ourselves to get up and “shake it off” before we’re really ready. All that leftover emotion builds up and is stored within the body, despite our belief that it is gone once we choose to think it’s gone. Once the release happens, the weight falls off and you can now resume your day with your full presence.

6. Remember That You’re Not Alone

When you’re feeling suffering of any kind in life (and there are many!), remember you’re not alone. Remember to claim your strength and ask for help when you need it. You can’t do it all on your own.



Next Article

Meditation for Connecting with the Goddess

From Bastet to Artemis, throughout history, the presence of goddesses have been written into human lore and mythology. But what does a modern goddess mean for us today?

The modern Goddess is often connected with Wicca, or paganism, but it’s important to hold to her image very broadly. All goddesses are considered different reflections of the one Divine Mother. Pinning the Goddess down is a challenge, as believers state she expresses herself in many different ways in the physical, mental and spiritual planes.

According to Wikipedia, some people in the Goddess movement recognize multiple goddesses. Some also include gods. While others honor what they refer to as “the Goddess”, which is not necessarily seen as monotheistic, but is often understood to be an inclusive, encompassing term incorporating many goddesses in many different cultures. The term “the Goddess” may also be understood to include a multiplicity of ways to view deity personified as female, or as a metaphor, or as a process. Other names she has include the One Goddess, Divine Mother , the Great Mother, the Divine Feminine, and the One (or Source) Energy. As other believers put it, “She is the embodiment of the divine feminine. She is Mother Nature, the Earth– Gaia; she is fertility and the turning of the seasons. She is the cycle of birth, life, death, and regeneration– or rebirth; she is the Creatrix of all that is, was, and will be. Where the God is hard and unyielding, the Goddess is soft and pliant, embracing the individual and human diversity, allowing for growth and expansion.”

The concept of a goddess can sound very abstract, which is why using a guided meditation can be of such importance. BeliefNet has a great one that is very visualization-heavy, and yet offers excellent guidance. Find out for yourself what this deity means to you:

Goddess Meditation

1. Begin your meditation by sitting in a quiet place. Mentally surround yourself with a zone of silence as if you have drawn a veil between yourself and the world. Gradually, begin to slow the rhythm of your breath. As you inhale, then exhale, let your breath carry you deeper and deeper within. As the distractions of everyday life fall away, let your awareness drop down into the inner chamber of your heart.

2. Next, imagine that you find yourself walking along a pathway that leads you further and further away from civilization, and deep into the heart of a primeval forest. As you follow this trail, imagine that you are winding around and among trees that are hundreds of years old. Flowers carpet the ground and birds sing. In the distance you hear the muffled roar of the ocean waves, rising and falling, rising and falling, like music. Your heartbeat, your breath, and the ocean waves keep time with the rhythm of nature.

3. Soon the path you are on brings you to a tiny, crumbling, stone sanctuary, a place so old and hidden it had been forgotten by time. Thickly covered with vines and gnarled branches, it is clear that no one entered this chapel in centuries, perhaps even thousands of years. Intuitively you sense that something mysterious yet deeply familiar lies within this ruin of a forgotten shrine. Slowly you push open the door and enter. As you open the door, something old and timeless opens within your soul as well.

4. Once across the threshold, you find yourself immersed in an atmosphere that is sacred and holy. Vaulted ceilings arch over a rough, stone altar at the front. Candles are burning, there is a smell of fragrant incense. On an altar stands a statue of the female deity, the Goddess. Her face is so old and dark with time, the lines on her body so worn from the touch of praying hands that you cannot even tell what religion she belongs to. She is simply the Mother, god as a woman, the one to whom the world turns in all its grief and suffering. She is Sofia, Kwan Yin, Mary, Sarah, Fatima, White Buffalo Woman, Isis, Sita, Innanna, and Demeter. She is all the feminine faces of God, but she is more than that. She is the mother of life itself.

5. Kneeling before her in reverence, you bow your head in prayer. Immediately you are embraced by her being, and the cares and worries of the world fall away, soothed in her loving acceptance of all your human faults and frailties. Entering even more deeply into your meditation the statue you are praying before suddenly comes alive as a real being and now you find yourself before the mystery of the living mother of all creation.

6. As she comes to life, the chapel fills with a warm and golden light. Now the face of the ancient mother becomes animated with feeling. Seated before her you gaze into each other’s eyes. She penetrates your soul with a glance that loves you to the core of your very being. Emotions of sweetness, mercy, and loving forgiveness emanate from her, sweeping over you in waves of bliss, healing all the parts of your that are hurt, broken, and wounded. Held within her arms, taken onto her lap, you become like a little child with its mother. You touch her hair, her face in loving affection, and feel her loving affection for you in return.

7. Going more deeply into this experience you begin to feel as if the body of the ancient mother is the gateway to the body of creation itself. Going beyond her form, you enter into communion with the body of the earth — all her creatures, trees, oceans, rivers, mountains, cities, and people. Going even beyond the earth, feel the body of the ancient mother expand into space, becoming the bodies of the stars and the planets and the whirling galaxies that are spread over the universe like a mantle of bright jewels.

8. Held in the womb of this mystery you feel a powerful force, holy energy, and the breath of life, the soul of the cosmos. Feel your heartbeat in rhythm with the rhythm of life itself. Slowly begin to return your awareness to your body, still seated before the ancient mother in prayer. Inhale deeply, taking into every cell of your body, every thought in your mind her cherishing nourishing life-sustaining love. Exhale, letting this energy flow out of you like a river of grace watering your life and all those you know and care for, with a stream of blessings, happiness, and well-being.

9. Now close your meditation bowing once more before the ancient mother. Rise and exit from her humble little sanctuary, closing the door behind you. As you make your way along the path back to the life you left behind, remember that you carry within your heart a precious secret: faith in the goodness of life, the gift of love of the Divine Mother of the world.

Read Article

Related Articles

More In Meditation

Our unique blend of yoga, meditation, personal transformation, and alternative healing content is designed for those seeking to not just enhance their physical, spiritual, and intellectual capabilities, but to fuse them in the knowledge that the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts.


Desktop, laptop, tablet, phone devices with Gaia content on screens

Discover what Gaia has to offer.

Get instant access to free videos, helpful articles, and exclusive offers.