Four Noble Truths About Life
Our choices become limited as we avoid certain feelings, people, situations, and places. The result of this gradual constriction of freedom because of limiting belief systems causes the loss of vitality, disconnection from others, and potential for the fulfillment of our dreams. Because we feel trapped in limiting beliefs we may lose confidence in our ability to connect with others, and in our ability to give and serve. We may cling to beliefs like “I don’t have enough time/money to serve”, or “What I have to offer isn’t good enough”, or even, “What if I embarrass myself?” These kinds of thoughts keep us in bondage and stuck in our own suffering, even isolated and alone during the holiday season.
Instead of clinging to these negative beliefs, I encourage all of us to look for those that might be suffering and disconnected. I would like to remind us that focusing on someone outside of ourselves can not only benefit them, but it also helps us heal from our own suffering and loneliness. In our service we are accessing our capacity for compassion; and for a moment, we find ways to lift the hearts of those that are carrying heavy burdens.
Isn’t that how it goes? We go to serve someone and we end up feeling better because of the act of service itself. True service feeds the giver and the receiver. Service can truly offer physical and emotional first aid to those who are suffering, but it can also be part of your “appropriate path” to healing. We give because the recipient needs it and because we need to give it.
In virtually every spiritual tradition, suffering is seen as the doorway to awakening. Our own suffering causes us to have to look deeper inside and address our own individual pain. Pain awakens us and raises our levels of consciousness if we let it. It can become our teacher. Suffering is truly the gateway to awakening our capacity for divine compassion.
Buddha helps us understand 4 noble truths about our human experience:
Noble Truth #1 Suffering is part of the human experience.
Noble Truth #2 We must discover why we are suffering.
Noble Truth #3 Suffering can be transformed and healed.
Noble Truth #4 Once you find what is causing your suffering you must find an appropriate path.
This holiday season may we be directed through “guided flow” to recognize and be aware of those in need physically and emotionally. May we have confidence in our ability to serve by offering a listening ear, something warm to eat, a hug, a shoulder to cry on, understanding, patience, a gentler tone, kind words, expressions of gratitude, and less of the need to complain.
I believe with all my heart that as we do this service can truly free us from suffering.