If I should summarize the teaching in some words, I would say this: it is simple, when you feel a tension coming from identity, you welcome the necessary suffering and you wait that life proposes you something which crystallizes.
The “welcome necessary suffering” is the practice that I consider most important in our work. If I had to describe the “user’s guide” to welcoming necessary suffering (n.s.), I would say:
– when an event or situation affects me unpleasantly, I block my spontaneous reaction;
– I take responsibility for what I feel, without trying to blame another or the situation for being the source of my problem arising;
– I welcome the unpleasant feeling, without judgment, without seeking mental resolution to the problem, and try to relax;
– once the emotion is weaker, I try to find an “objective” solution to the situation and I act accordingly;
– I do not attach myself to the results of my actions and I remain open to welcome whatever rises.
I realize that waiting for life to offers something that crystallizes is not as easy as it seems.
There is a sense of time and this time (can) allow(s) subtle doubts to interfere to fill the void with… unnecessary suffering. So once the necessary suffering is welcomed, there remains a need to stay with the void, like a tightrope walker on his rope, without a net, in vigilance every moment.
Is it simpler to welcome necessary suffering or to wait until life offers you something that crystallizes?
What I can say is that I do not see this in terms of which is simpler, welcoming necessary suffering is the basis of work and is therefore the first option, I would say it depends on me, through vigilance, awareness of what is going while by being present to tensions through whole body consciousness, stopping the expression of unpleasant feelings, acceptance (welcoming necessary suffering) of the situation.
The second option seems more independent from me, life brings it to me and I can do nothing but accept. The difference between the two I see more in terms of dependence on me (my responsibility) and independence of me, at least that is how I understand “that life offers you something that crystallizes”.
This is what I see and in one case as in the other I do not see “simplicity”, but in the context that we discussed it, what I recall is that ultimately it is “simple” to do, in the sense that there is nothing complicated, everyone can easily understand the process which is “simple” and implement it, which is why it seemed simple to us then, as you wrote.
What is harder then in daily practice (I speak for myself), is to remember to do it (always), over time, in situations of severe fatigue, loss of awareness, you let yourself slide a bit and it can become more “complicated” hence the importance for me of having safeguards (self-remembering, refusing and stopping identification, returning to body awareness, re-becoming aware of necessary suffering) that prevent me from slipping further and put me back on the “right track”.
For me (and certain points repeat what others have already written), welcoming necessary suffering is something on which I can and must “act” whereas I can do nothing to make something crystallize (other than welcoming necessary suffering). At the same time, welcoming necessary suffering can be done on a small contraction, in an instant, but it can also be about welcoming suffering that lasts a very long time… and the challenge then is to welcome continuously, without adding unnecessary suffering, without fleeing. The second part is tricky: waiting for life to offer you something that can crystallize, but without expecting results, without demands, without conditions on life. Somehow, for me, they are two sides of the same coin: welcoming necessary suffering is welcoming life itself, without conditions, with its unknown aspects. It is “surrendering” to life. Something might crystallize or not…
One day, somebody explained to me the difference between complicated (the opposite of easy) and complex (the opposite of simple). Disassembling and reassembling an airplane is complicated because there are many parts but it is not complex. You just need to be rigorous and methodical to do it. Taking a plate of spaghetti, emptying it and then recreating it exactly, that is complex.
I would say that welcoming necessary suffering and waiting for crystallization are both simple but not necessarily easy!
This practicing can to be done each time we encounter minor or major events that hinder us to proceed in the planned way, or that disturb our comfort. So all day long with some exceptions. 🙂
Welcoming necessary suffering burns fears. Practicing this eventually makes it obvious that beyond our will/ego/identity there is KNOWINGNESS OF REAL LIFE. The dynamics of REAL LIFE can only be unveiled when there is a continuous absence of fear. One needs to become able to no more fear the shit that might happen, and instead welcome it on the same level as the goodies of life.
Becoming existentially aware that in reality our life is similar to being in a roller coaster with built-in possible lethal exit any moment, is not for the faint-hearted. 🙂 But looking objectively at it, what else could one say about one’s life in general?
Accepting the necessary suffering is a prerequisite and indispensable for being ready to “jump” at what life may propose. Without doing the “work” and accepting the necessary suffering, the possibility of any crystallization is nil. Just waiting for what life proposes seems a bit like procrastinating to me.
I have noticed this is very important for me. Making sure that waiting for life is not an excuse to avoid while at the same time opening up and letting life unfold however it will and not resisting. One is mental and ego-based, the other heart base and there is a qualitative difference in the experience between the two. And fear blocks being heart based. Life is like a roller coaster and for this I see it as keeping my eyes opening and fully participating in whatever twist or turn will come next without tensing up or imagining what might be next.
Welcoming necessary suffering is my responsibility. It is a decision and a (non-) act of welcoming, of being open to life, that helps me to gradually rid myself of all the buffers I have built between me and life (separation). Yet it was something basically simple (welcoming necessary suffering) when I was a newborn. 🙂 But it became very complicated when assuming my personality, I built all these protections which now are automatic depending on the situation (the famous “fight, flight, freeze”).
When necessary suffering had been avoided in a given situation, fight, flight or freeze may happen. These can be seen as creators of unnecessary suffering (u.s.).
What life decides is absolutely out of my hands. As long as I am convinced that I have power over life, then through my expectations or my refusal of what it proposes, I generate unnecessary suffering. I do not believe that welcoming necessary suffering necessarily implies that life will respond with something that crystallizes. That is a possibility. But it does not depend on us. And this is a matter of grace.
Each welcoming of necessary suffering engenders a process of transformation and something is bound to crystallize (within oneself and/or in the way one’s life unfolds). It has nothing to do with grace. The crystallization can bring up (even more) shit or bliss. One never knows. 🙂 It can bring up more necessary suffering or less, one cannot know. Each of these crystallizations reconnects you more with what LIFE IS.
It seems that I misunderstood the meaning of “crystallization”. I thought it was about an external event (an opportunity) but not also about an inner event. Viewing this situation from a distance, I think that welcoming necessary suffering and the expectation of crystallization are completely linked.
There is no expectation to have.
If I am welcoming, so I also accept (I welcome) that life offers me nothing (along with the necessary suffering that might accompany this);
if I am welcoming and life manifests an opportunity/crystallization, so I also welcome the necessary suffering which may accompany the act of diving into this opportunity.
Each welcoming of necessary suffering prepares an opportunity to come in contact with REAL LIFE. It widens/transforms one’s nervous system in order to eventually being able to stand up to permanent nothingness.
By welcoming necessary suffering, I feel the humility, the void, I am available, listening, I remain open to what life offers me.
One way I look at n.s. is that life sometimes invites, or strongly recommends, that we live through a particular suffering because this is somehow necessary in order to stay in or enter the “dynamics of Life”. It resembles when a parent out of nurturance is persuading or “forcing” a child to take some medicine necessary for “being alive”. The more I resist, the longer the persuasion procedure will go on and the parent will never stop to try different approaches (e.g., dilute the medicine, or mix it in with something else). As a child, I am only aware of that the medicine tastes horrible and don’t understand why the medicine is necessary so if eventually take the medicine (voluntarily, i.e.), I swallow out of trust. So to me there is an element of trust in order to welcome and accept n.s.
In my view, the two are intertwined. Life offers contexts regularly—different in form, but similar in substance—to welcome the necessary suffering. It crystallizes to the extent we welcome it, to some extent independently of our own free will I would say. For me it is a welcoming where body consciousness and humility merge.
I try as best I can to welcome n.s. each time life makes it arise. I feel that crystallization happens, but in no way depends on me. Just welcoming.
I don’t understand the use of the word “crystallization” and how it relates to n.s.
Identity “hates” welcoming n.s. It cherishes unnecessary suffering (u.s.) instead. Once you practice disallowing u.s. and welcoming n.s. systematically, something is bound to crystallize within you and in the way your life unfolds. This practice weakens the impact of identity and modifies the way how you decide things. The crystallization can be observed by self-observation and has to do with the deployment of essential value, and with the progressive acting out of non-identity.
Very clear for me now. Thank you. It appears to me that not only does this practice burn fears (of painful events), it also burns, or weakens/demotivates, the desire/need for pleasant events. I have realized my daily hunt for pleasure/comfort keeps me identified and consumes a lot of time and that the ability/willingness to welcome n.s. is a prerequisite for letting go of it. When I do, there is a sense of freedom and openness to whatever might happen the next moment.
For me, it’s much simpler to welcome necessary suffering since I had understood with the last exchanges that it could be very small things, very ordinary annoyances. So, it’s frequent and the welcoming of this suffering (which for me involves a physical relaxation somewhere in the belly) becomes an intimate gesture. It is not always easy, sometimes there is still some unnecessary suffering occupying the space, but it is simple. Regarding crystallization, it seems to me, that it is not for me, I cannot act at that level.
I have realized how much useless suffering I spend in trying to anticipate what is going to happen, I don’t mean anticipate in an appropriate manner such as planning or taking measures to mitigate possible (real) risks, I refer to the useless activity of imagining how things will develop, to play it out in the mind as if in the hope of gaining some “information” or guidance on what I should do and how. There was a kind of emotional attachment to it, the illusion that something is being resolved by this while in fact when back in reality I discover that it hasn’t. So currently for me a major focus in the practice of necessary suffering in daily life is: I try to become aware of and welcome the necessary suffering of not knowing what will happen and not seek (the illusion of) control in imagined future.