Day 150 – Rest In Peace

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Zencast 149 – Mindfulness Meditation Course – Wk 3

‘All pain is the same and when you know better you act better.’ – Oprah

Today’s mindfulness class focused on mindfulness of emotions, and what an emotional couple of days it’s been! Yesterday there was the news about the terrible tragedy in Norway, and I just now heard the breaking news that troubled singer Amy Winehouse has been found dead.

Sometimes world news becomes incredibly overwhelming and I wonder where I can put all the emotion I feel for situations completely out of my control or everyday life that still touch me deep within my heart.

Interestingly, I happened to catch an episode of Oprah that I hadn’t seen before. It was an episode about lessons she has learned over the years from guests who have suffered terrible tragedies and how they changed her life (and the life of others). She ended the program with a quote she once gave to mothers who had murdered their children. When they asked her how she could look at them without hatred for what they had done, Oprah replied by saying that all pain is the same. That is how she could understand them and the heinous crime they had committed. Their pain was no different from anyone else’s except for the way they acted upon it.

This idea really struck me and helped me to make more sense out of the events that have happened these last two days. Everyone suffers. Everyone has pain. As Buddhists we believe this to be true. Unfortunately, not everyone deals with their pain in the same way. Not everyone has an appropriate outlet or way of dealing with their emotions. Not everyone finds a path that helps them to live honorably with their suffering.

Oprah has worked hard over the years trying to teach others life lessons that they could take away to improve their lives because she believes that when you know better, you act better. She believes that when you have positive ways of dealing with your pain then you will handle your pain in a more positive way.

While it’s difficult to find meaning in senseless or premature death this quote helps me to understand that although mindfulness practice may be helping my life, the best thing I can do with my mindfulness is show other people, with my example, how it can help them to improve their lives as well. Then hopefully tragedies such as the one in Norway and the premature death of Amy Winehouse can become a thing of the past.

Is there anyone in your life today that could use some help dealing with their pain?

Namaste

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7 Responses to “Day 150 – Rest In Peace”
  1. Jorge says:

    All pain being the same is a powerful concept. It takes us away from judging others as to how they react to any situation. We do not really know what goes on inside their heads so it is pointless to have an “I know better” attitude. I read in an excellent book called “Globalization of Addiction” that addicted people are the dark reflection of our society, we do not want to see it but we are all part of the problem. The only difference is how people react to life and there are even some addictions that are socially acceptable but equally destructive like being a workaholic. It all comes down to how we perceive our world and many times we choose to fool ourselves about it.
    Believe me, after getting acquainted with my mind and its quirks, I learned not to judge others.
    My heart goes out to the Norwegian families affected by that horrible act of violence.

    • Sounds fascinating! I’ll definitely be looking that one up! Thanks for sharing :) As always, it boils down to perception, which is so individual. I think that’s why as hard as I often find it to meditate, there is almost a relief to sitting down to the breath. I know that that is true reality and that everything going on in my head is just perception so I can take a breath and watch it rather than jump into it.
      I find it very hard to be judgemental, especially of myself, but I have found through my practice that life is a lot lighter if you can stop at the first arrow. Perfection is overrated and no one is perfect!
      Namaste :)

  2. I think the concept of pain being the same, no matter what the act, is a powerful way to view trajedies. If you sink deep into this concept, it may forge a way toward forgiveness.

    Enjoyed perusing around your posts. Thanks.

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  3. [...] If we are unable to sit back and take a look at our thoughts without engaging in them how can we come to understand and appreciate which thoughts should be acted on and which thoughts should be left as just that? This is truly the dilemma of our time as recent events show. [...]



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