There is no such thing as an ‘easy life.’ Everyone experiences different struggles; whether it’s emotional or physical, personal or social, controllable or uncontrollable. We all go through rough patches, battles, and moments when darkness seems to be the only way. However, we each have each other. We have constant support. These are the times when we must come together and help fight through the darkness that may be present. So look to your neighbours when needed, and reciprocate unconditional love. You are never alone, and will forever be protected by those around you.
Mindfulness Embraces Suffering

‘The aim of mindfulness is to know suffering fully. It entails paying calm, unflinching attention to whatever impacts the organism, be it the song of a lark or the scream of a child, the bubbling of a playful idea or a twinge in the lower back. You attend not just to the outward stimuli themselves, but equally to your inward reactions to them. You do not condemn what you see as your failings or applaud what you regard as success. You notice things come, you notice them go. Over time, the practice becomes less a self-conscious exercise in meditation done at fixed periods each day and more a sensibility that infuses one’s awareness at all times.

Mindfulness can have a sobering effect on the restless, jittery psyche. The stiller and more focused it becomes, the more I am able to peer into the sources of my febrile reactivity, to catch the first stirring of hatred before it overwhelms me with loathing and spite, to observe with ironic detachment the conceited babbling of the ego, to notice at its inception the self-determining story that could tip me into depression.

And I am not the only one that suffers. You suffer too. Every sentient creature suffers. When my self is no longer the all-consuming preoccupation it once was, when I see it as one narrative thread among myriad others, when I understand it to be as contingent and transient as anything else, then the barrier that separates “me” from “not me” begins to crumble. The conviction of being a closed cell of self is not only delusive but anesthetic. It numbs me to the suffering of the world. To embrace suffering culminates in greater empathy, the capacity to feel what it is like for the other to suffer, which is the ground for unsentimental compassion and love.’

- Stephen Batchelor, Confession of a Buddhist Atheist.

To Practice Mindfulness Is to Return to Life

by Thich Nhat Hanh

To practice mindfulness is to become alive. Life is so precious, yet in our daily lives we are carried away by our forgetfulness, anger and worries. We are often lost in the past, unable to touch life in the present moment. When we are truly alive, everything we touch or do is a miracle. To practice mindfulness is to return to life in the present moment.

Practicing mindfulness, we see the suffering that is caused by the destruction of life everywhere, and we vow to cultivate compassion and use it as a source of energy to protect the lives of people, animals, plants and minerals. When we see suffering, compassion is born in us. It reflects the Buddha’s first sermon, that we have to be in touch with suffering.

It can be said that there are two kinds of suffering. Perhaps ninety-five percent of the suffering we endure every day is not at all necessary. Because of our lack of insight, we cause suffering to ourselves and others, including our beloved ones. But the remaining five percent is born out of contact with the real suffering around us and inside of us. To be aware of this kind of suffering brings about compassion, the energy necessary to transform ourselves and help relieve the suffering of the world.

Do not lose awareness of the suffering that is going on in the world. Nourish that kind of awareness by whatever means possible: images, direct contact, visits, and so on. We have to do that in order to keep both the awareness of the suffering and compassion alive in us. But experiencing too much suffering is not good. Any medicine must be taken in the proper dosage. We need to stay in touch with suffering only to the extent that we will not forget. Then compassion will flow within us and be a source of energy that we can transform into action.

People often use their anger at social injustice as a basis for action, but that is unwise. When you are angry you are not lucid, and you can do many harmful things. According to Buddhism, the only source of energy that can be useful is compassion, because it is safe. When you have compassion, your energy is born from insight. It is not blind energy. With compassion, we practice in order to learn ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals. Just feeling compassion is not enough. If we do not know how to help, we can do damage. That is why love must go together with understanding.

anonymous asked:

Useful tips for returning to baseline? For example, if I have one argument on vacation, the whole vacation is ruined for me. On the more positive side - if I had a good time with someone I'm distracted all day thinking about them.

Emotion regulation skills are really helpful for returning to baseline. Mindfulness will probably help you to avoid ruminating, too. :)

Don’t strive to be better than others, but instead strive to be better than yourself. You are your best competition.
When your mind begins to fall off track, handle it delicately. Be careful when it begins to think irrational thoughts, for it is then when we become the most vulnerable to our greatest fears.