Even in times of tremendous pain, or while facing unpleasant and uncomfortable truths about the realities of the world, life, society, and so forth, you will only suffer when you are disconnected from the truth of the Source and your True Self (a truth that, in Yoga, has been beautifully, and succinctly, summed up in the symbol, word, and sound OM/AUM and reinforced through the ritualized recitation of Mantras through Japa Practice).
I was able to first start fully acknowledging this truth after a year of persistent migraine headaches following a traumatic car accident. And, every day, as I look out into the insanity of the world and at certain collective and individual behaviors and ideologies (sometimes with a feeling of indignation), I realize that preserving my inner peace is possible no matter what is happening around me, and even despite how I am feeling in any given moment.
As long as I remain present and unattached to what I am seeing and/or experiencing at all times without too much unnecessary internal resistance in the form of wasted energy/scattered attention, I am able to avoid suffering even while I am still capable of experiencing physical and emotional pain.
When my migraines first began, I resisted the distress. I tried to deny it from passing through me and teaching me the lessons that I needed to learn in order to heal my suffering. Instead of stepping back and looking at the issue, I worked tirelessly and fervently (with medical professionals and alone) to fight it and to get rid of it. But, one day, as the telltale temporary blindness, nausea, and light-and-sound sensitivity started to emerge in my body, I simply surrendered to the fact that immense pain would follow. One day, I chose to simply feel the pain and neutrally focus on what was required of me in order to fully see, understand, and move through it. This concentrated cessation from fighting the issue of my pain is what freed me from the suffering of my migraine headaches; not just from the intangible suffering caused by being in pain itself, but also, interestingly enough, from the physical pain of this type of headache as well, which, with the right care, stress reduction techniques, and consistent inner practice, is no longer an issue in my life.
While certain truths are harder than others to digest and accept, if you look at them neutrally, without attachment, looking at them with simple awareness instead of opposition or judgment outside of acknowledging these uncomfortable truths’ “shape” and impact (as tempting as it may be to judge your pains and issues), you disarm their ability to inflict damage on your body, mind, and spirit.
With neutral detachment, you allow unfortunate realities to pass through your awareness without becoming painful fixations that remain with and within you for longer timeframes than is necessary to effectively acknowledge and deal with them. And when you do this, you empower yourself to more adequately overcome and move forward from the suffering that can often come from the misfortunes, inconveniences, and injustices that plague human existence.
This disarmament means freedom from suffering (or at least freedom from prolonged suffering), and requires a concentration and focus that is unlike the focus that you typically think of when you hear the word focus itself. While many often associate the concept of “focus” with intense mental force of some kind, for the sake of Yoga practice, the word is most closely defined by it’s explanation as “a state or condition permitting clear perception or understanding” as outlined by the Merriam Webster dictionary.