Knowing that pain is impermanent and having a belief that there is hope, allows me to sit with clients who are in deep emotional or physical pain. It is at our worst, when nothing external can help us that we can turn inward and begin to make the journey toward truth. Truth can and will set us free from suffering. There are many paths to truth. In the Rig Veda it says there is only “one truth”, but “the wise call it by different names.” I too believe this to be so and encourage clients to stick to one path. Through prayer and/or meditation we turn away from external supports and move toward God, Krishna, or the Self within as the source of truth. If there is any silver lining in pain or sorrow, it is truly that it gives us the push to seek truth. We are often desperate for “answers” or relief as we begin to seek help. Some things can bring temporary relief, and I encourage client’s to use healthy tools to cope with pain while working toward healing. But when our pain or sorrow continues despite all efforts to heal, we are left with only one place to turn. What amazes me is often at this point the desire to seek death, rather than seek truth is the overwhelming thought. Perhaps it is because we do not know what is possible, or it takes effort move beyond the pain and sorrow. We have to LET GO of things we cling to for temporary relief, which brings discomfort, before we can reach the other side of pain and suffering…FREEDOM from suffering! All spiritual teachings speak of such a state and some believe it is possible only after death, but the Buddha teaches that this state is available in this life, NOW! Through spiritual practice one comes to know and believe that it exists, but one must get a taste of this peace in order to continue the arduous journey. Simple practices can start you on this path and the truth is we do not have to wait until we are at our wits end. The practical teachings of the Buddha, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, and the Bhagavad Gita are all great guides. Start now, right where you are, and set an intention to begin the journey beyond the external daily grind.
Patty Thomas Shutt, Psy.D.