How to Transform Suffering to Peace and Joy

Jun 28, 2024

Ah yes suffering. Between all your work demands, financial stress, family obligations, and health issues, it can seem impossible to feel any sense of peace. Adulting takes a lot out of you! 

Back when the show Downton Abbey was popular, I fantasized about having a “ladies maid” to organize my life and clean my shoes. That gave me a “brain vacation” from the stress of keeping up with life. But I figured out an easier way to alleviate suffering while still having scuffed shoes.  

I remember reading a passage in one of Jiddu Krishnamurti books (sorry, I don’t remember which one) when someone asked him his secret to awakening.   

He said, “This is my secret. I don't mind what happens.” In other words, having preferences but not rigid attachments.

Isn’t that the truth?  Any time we brace against reality, saying things like, “that shouldn’t have  happened”, we become paralyzed with suffering.  

The spiritual teacher Adyashanti says we suffer because we believe our thoughts and stories. He said, “One of the primary reasons we suffer is because we believe what we think, that the thoughts in our heads come uninvited into our consciousness, swirl around, and we attach to them. We identify with them and grab hold of them.”

 

In this blog, you'll learn:

  • How our thoughts influence emotions and create suffering
  • Tips for working with difficult emotions skillfully
  • A 3-step framework for personal transformation
  • How to shift perspective and reduce suffering

 

Let’s chat a bit more about how our emotions stem from our thoughts. As one teacher pointed out, the worst and best experiences we have are emotions. But I want to add something to that. Our emotional response comes after we assign meaning to a situation.  We can all determine different meanings to an event, and boy, this sure could change based on how low our blood sugar is!  I know you know what I’m talking about. 

Of course, we have a right to feel any emotion - if a loved one dies, deep grief makes total sense. We need to honor that pain and take time to properly address trauma, not “positivity bias” our way out of pain ad nauseam. That would be disrespectful and dismissive.

Suffering comes when we resist what is happening and say it shouldn't be this way. In those agonizing moments of loss, the healthiest thing is to fully feel and release that suffering. If a beloved family member dies and we resist, that creates suffering. When we spend longer in “They shouldn’t have died” vs. being angry, full of rage, then finally sorrow, acceptance and grief, the suffering isn’t there.  Only the pain of missing that relationship. 

 

 

Shifting Perspective Reduces Suffering

Let's say your boss, coworker, or child speaks to you in a way that feels disrespectful. Your initial thought might be, "They shouldn't have talked to me that way!" And you feel angry or indignant.

But if you're not in a place of trauma, you can create a new thought. What's another way of looking at this? You could say: "This person doesn't communicate well or understand my boundaries. I should calmly explain what's not okay and give them the benefit of the doubt."

Even if you think they're trying to be hurtful, staying in your wise inner adult self allows you to not take it personally. Other people's behavior is about their personality, not yours.

Now I'm not saying this is easy! We all get caught up in difficult dynamics at times, especially when they hit an unhealed wound living within us.  Sometimes our inner Bon Qui Qui needs a minute to breathe and wait before we speak. (You’ve got to watch the 3-minute video, it’s a great example of what happens when we believe our thoughts, AND it’s hilarious).  



Six little tips to identify and manage suffering:

 

1. Thinking about the current situation. 

  • What's happening now at this moment? 
  • How are we interpreting it? 

If your nervous system is in hyperarousal, or has untreated PTSD, you might understandably interpret any event with a defensive bracing stance. Even experiencing wanted change can feel unsafe or threatening. 

2. Look at past events. 

Are you still arguing with the past? Saying things like, "My mom shouldn't have been an alcoholic. She shouldn't have left me to take care of my siblings." Yeah, you’re right. It would be ideal to have a high functioning parent instead of growing up so fast. You get to grieve that, feeling the injustice you got in life and heal your painful trauma and disappointments. Integrating life versus bypassing your emotions is really important. 

3. Don't resist your feelings. 

Imagine your inner 4-year-old coming to you sad or upset. Hopefully you won't rush the emotions of your inner fabulous self and say, "Don't be sad!" You'd listen compassionately. "What's going on, sweetie? What's making you feel this way?"

Often, we rush to intellectualize, justify, or make the emotion go away quickly. But there's wisdom in asking, "What am I feeling? Why am I rushing this? Maybe an old belief got triggered that something was wrong with me for feeling sad.”

Listen, if you don’t take the time to grow your emotional resilience, you will forever gaslight and talk yourself out of things that don’t sit right with you.  You are important, and in order to say what you need, you have to know what you feel. 

 

4. Identifying your insulting and unproductive thoughts towards yourself. 

What is your opinion of yourself?

What happened when you read that?  Hard swallow right? I ask about your self-opinion because that can reveal your core assumptions. At first, it may feel uncomfortable - "Hmm, never thought about that!" But it's so valuable.

If you have a low opinion of yourself, guess what happens if you listen to feedback?  Yup, you might feel offended. Ask yourself, If I approve of who I am, how willing would I be to learn new things? Remember, it doesn’t mean you need to agree with the feedback you were given, just don’t assassinate your own character when listening. Perfect way to prevent suffering!

 

5. Activating your inner elder. 

3-Step Framework for Transformation according to therapist Jonathan Gustin: 

  • waking up
  • growing up
  • showing up.
  1. Waking up means noticing when thoughts create illusions or problems - seeing through the dream of conditioning we inherited about who we are. Asking, "What do I truly believe about myself?" 
  2. Growing up is taking full responsibility for our lives now, regardless of the past. If we're still traumatized, it's 100% on us to get support and heal, not blame anyone. So freeing!
  3. Showing up fully present for ourselves means we have the bandwidth to give back and serve others from a place of wholeness.

Respecting the ebb and flow of the season in your life also brings ease and joy.  You no longer have to have to brace and resort back into habits of suffering. 

 

6. Set boundaries with yourself. 

Boundaries can be a great tool to design your life ahead of time by asking yourself:

  • What do I want to feel this week
  • What are my priorities for this week? 
  • What activities support the emotional state I desire? 

 

When you say things like, “I have to go to this event or I’ll look like a jerk,” you’re resisting the reality that you’re not going for yourself, you’re going to monitor your imagine, which by the way is an elusive goal since your image isn’t tangible and can’t truly be measured. Just saying.  Save yourself some time, respect that others have a right to be disappointed, and you have a right to reset your boundaries. 

 

Remember, we can transform our suffering to peace with these simple steps.

  • Notice what’s happening.
  • Is it a problem or an inconvenience? 
  • If it’s a problem, it can be fixed.
  • If it’s an inconvenience, that’s a bummer but can also be fixed.
  • Don’t argue with life, life always wins. (People die, we get fired, and relationships end).
  • You have a right to have your preference about what happens, but as I mentioned above, Krishnamurti says, “the secret to my awakening is I don’t mind what happens.”

 

And most importantly, to alleviate suffering and invite in peace and joy, remind yourself often, “I trust life’s journey.” 

Remember, limiting beliefs can cause us to miss out on all the joy around us.

 

Would you like to be taken through the process of transforming suffering into peace and joy? The information above is from a class inside the Mastery section of the Invoke and Release® Healing Circle. There you will find a step-by-step healing path to help you build a strong and resilient foundation to heal from your past and move through life with ease.

You can find the “Transforming Suffering To Peace And Joy” healing class in the Invoke and Release® Healing Circle

You will learn about the healing method Invoke and Release® which is a powerful tool helping you release emotional trauma so you can feel free to live the life you want.

 

The Invoke and Release® Healing Modality helps you:

  • Determine what fueled your suffering
  • Transform suffering to peace and joy
  • Raise your energetic vibration so you can have more joy in your life and create exciting opportunities

 

Joining the Invoke and Release® Healing Circle

enables you to:

  • Attract happier and healthier people into your life
  • Amplify your ability to manifest peace and joy
  • Feel more comfortable taking bold action, leaving toxic relationships, and feeling true to yourself

 

Important Links:

Jiddu Krishnamurti

Adyashanti

Jonathan Gustin

What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? 

Managing Hyperarousal in PTSD

Reveal and Heal Obstacles to Your Success™

What is Invoke and Release®?

Invoke and Release® Healing Circle

Invoke and Release® website



Helpful Blogs:

Why is Healing Trauma Important

Seeing through the Seduction of Negative Thinking

The Ultimate Guide to Identifying and Transforming Your Limiting Beliefs 

 

Recommended book: 

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

Falling into Grace: Insights on the End of Suffering by Adyashanti

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