But why is it that some people go through intense suffering and not only survive but use their suffering to live more inspired lives? We've heard stories of people who were diagnosed with terminal illnesses, given a few months to live, managed to heal themselves, and used their first-hand experiences to share natural healing with others. We've heard of people who were victims of hate and violence who end up not only becoming teachers to others who are victimized but also to the perpetrators of violence. We've heard of those who have witnessed unimaginable cruelty and did not give up and instead used their trauma to be proponents of peace. How do they manage?
You see, suffering and spiritual awakening are two sides of one door. We have it in us to open the doorway of suffering to see what is on the other side of it. Through the rock-bottom of disappointment we can rise up and find a different way of seeing things and doing things. Through hardships and challenges thrown at us we can observe and acknowledge things as they are-- difficult, yes; permanent, definitely not. When suffering arises, our vision may be clouded and we see only hopelessness, and it may be so unbearable that we wish to run away. Do not hide, do not escape, do not ignore it or minimize it or exaggerate it.
In yoga asana, we all know too well that what we do isn't always easy. Often there is a lot of discomfort. But it is through the discomfort that we are able to transform the body, to gain flexibility and strength and balance. In the same manner, it is in our difficulties that we grow to see what's inside of us, the courage that was dormant, the compassion that was untapped, the strength that was unexplored. We allow all of that to rise into the surface through our discomfort. See the suffering for what it is. Lean into it, so that the doorway opens and you are able to see the awakening that is on the other side.