“Doctor, it hurts when I do that….”
says the patient to her doctor. “Then don’t do that.” is the sum of his advice. Are you suffering? Are you in pain – physical pain or emotional pain? What is the meaning and purpose of your suffering? It’s possible that the purpose of suffering is change. Whatever is causing the suffering needs to change. Look to yourself first. Is there something you are doing to yourself (don’t do that!) that needs to stop now – are you eating too much, drinking and drugging too much, watching too much TV, spending too much time on the computer? Are you spending too much time with negative people who don’t share your values – because they seem exciting or cool or somehow important? Are you staying in a relationahip that’s destructive out of fear of being alone or because you’ve become hooked on the drama? Are you working too hard in a toxic job situation and afraid to quit? Change!
What are you not doing? Not eating well (as in regular, balanced, nutritious meals), not exercising, not getting enough sleep, not surrounding yourself with positive, interesting, responsible people, not attending to your spiritual life? Change!
What if you have done everything to make positive changes in your life and you are still confronted with a situation which causes pain and for which there really is nothing you can do? Then the change being called for is on the inside: a change of perspective, a change of belief, a change of attitude – a change from resistance to acceptance.
Why is change so difficult? We are so resistant to it in part because at some level we must admit error. Ok, that’s a little harsh – but there it is – whether our choice is an error to begin with or just the hanging on to old habits and attitudes past their time, we are called to change.