There’s an old saying, that physical pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. Discover a practice that eases the mental suffering that often comes with challenges. It puts you into a higher capacity state so you can create the life of YOUR choosing.
1:15 – An idea whose time has come
5:05 – A simple framework to live by
10:15 – How much time do you spend in a suffering state?
15:30 – Misconceptions in the world of personal growth
19:50 – A quick practice to move from Suffering to Alignment
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This is EP 74 – SUFFERING IS OPTIONAL. – There’s an old saying, that physical pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. Today’s episode is about a practice that helps ease the mental suffering that often goes with challenges, because mental suffering is something you CAN change. Hi, I’m Carla Rieger, and this is the MindStory Speaker Podcast.
Most of us were never actually taught about thoughts, thinking, interpretations, meanings we give to things, beliefs and the resulting decisions and actions we take because of that thinking. There’s a myth that our thoughts are somehow out of our control. That’s because many of them are looping like software programs in our subconscious mind. But once you learn how to delete, upgrade and change your own internal thought systems, you have a freedom that few people get to experience. Not only that, but you now have the power to create the life that YOU want.
This is a HUGE differentiator between the people who are creating extraordinary things in the world and the people who are struggling and limiting themselves. So it’s a secret that’s more and more becoming known, which is a turning point in human history. Perhaps that’s because of the internet, of all the self-learning people do now, or because it’s an idea who’s time has come. We are ready for it. We’ve graduated the game, and now it’s time to play another game.
The new game, I believe is where you operate the extraordinary consciousness technology within you, at a whole new level. And really it’s about how to identify the limiting beliefs, the MindStories or patterns of thinking that had been holding you back and to give yourself permission to make new decisions, new MindStories and step powerfully into the role of game creator instead of just “the user”.
As I’ve said before, the brain is a goal achieving machine. That’s why we offer the Neuro-blueprints at MindStory Academy, because they act as a mental rehearsal tool helping you to create images, sounds, feelings, and experiences of the future you want. Whereby you create future memories, but organized in Story Form so that your subconscious uptakes it. If you just give yourself a phrase, like an affirmation, one visual, it doesn’t always stick. If it’s organized in a whole story, with a certain structure, that’s when your timeline changes and you create the life of YOUR choosing.
Now, I’m not suggesting you can just envision the life you want and POOF it just happens. It requires repetition, ensuring it’s on purpose, and includes massive inspired action on your part. Then life will inevitably test your resolve by giving you several challenges, forcing you to learn and be innovative. Because if it was all just handed to you on a platter, you wouldn’t grow. So, whether you want extraordinary health or extraordinary relationships or to make an extraordinary impact in the world with your gifts, talent and experience, or to create an extraordinary business, or to have an extraordinary bank account. Whatever deeply drives you, I believe is meant to be, if its coming from the true self, and isn’t just programming from the media to keep you on a hamster wheel of wanting something that doesn’t actually serve you and the world in the truest sense.
But the game is to get this consciousness technology, these mindsets, these MindStories working for you, instead of against you. So as you interact in a world that’s changing rapidly in alarming ways at times, the only thing you can control is how you respond, how you turn adversity into something good for you, for others, for the world in general. We’re all being tested right now to either rise to our greatest potential, so that we don’t succumb to the lower motivations that are all too easy when the world is falling apart around you.
But if you are armed with this new capacity, which is the power of decision, to choose your own interpretation, then you have a kind of personal power you didn’t have before, right? It’s the opposite of living by a limiting MindStory that holds back the potential you are meant to be.
So I want to introduce a simple framework that can make this easy to do, as you face those big and small decisions throughout your day. It’s this, and you may have heard it before, but it’s the kind of thing we all need reminders about regularly. There are two basically just two states of being. Really just 2 emotional being states. One we’ll call The Aligned State of Being and the other we’ll call The Suffering State of Being. This ties directly into the power of emotionally powered decisions that I’ve talked about in other episodes. So, what is an Alignment State of Being. It’s when you’re being calm, excited, joyful, curious. Those are the natural states of the true self, the deeper, wiser self that, I believe, we are here to uncover and live from. Pretty much everything that feels good is an aligned state of being. On the other hand, a Suffering State of Being is like… stress, anxiety, overwhelm, right? It can also look like jealousy, envy, not feeling good enough, not liking the present moment, resisting it, judging yourself and others.
So we all seem to cycle back and forth between the Aligned State of Being and the Suffering State of Being. When you’re in the Suffering State of Being you are living by the limiting beliefs, MindStories and negative interpretations, right? There’s a pattern of thinking that’s taking place that is not serving you well in your life. The magic comes when you become aware of your limiting MindStories, when you identify them, and realize they are just decisions you made, AND that you can make new decisions.
In that process of making new decisions, you are the story creator instead of just the story consumer. It literally changes how your brain operates, which completely transforms your life, if you let it. This is the science of creation. So, if you’re going through your day and notice yourself cursing, or fretting, or complaining, chances are you’re in the suffering state. Here’s the trick. No judgment of yourself around this. I know that can be hard, but the irony is that just reinforces the suffering state. It’s not like good people live in an aligned state of being all the time, and bad people live in a suffering state of being all the time. Or that there’s something wrong with you because you’re stressed or anxious or overwhelmed or complaining. If you can access that place of the neutral, compassionate witness within that’s the key. It’s where you just acknowledge, accept, have empathy for this state…almost like soothing a small child who is awoken from a nightmare. You wouldn’t criticize them for having a nightmare. You would give them some love and understanding, which changes them from suffering to alignment, so they can see that it’s just a dream. And they awaken out of the bad movie playing in their mind. That’s what you do with yourself. Then, you can remember how you cannot create powerfully from a suffering state of being and that to truly create you need to just switch over to an aligned state of being.
Because when you’re in the Suffering state, you’re not creative. You’re not inspired. You don’t have vital energy, right? You’re not intuitive. You don’t have access to this extraordinary reservoir of intelligence, this infinite intelligence that you could have access to. You basically cut yourself off from your power. And so again, if you want to have a powerful living experience, what we need to do is become aware of when you have moved into suffering and therefore cut yourself off from your power and your creative capacity and nurture yourself in that place, process any emotions that need to be processed. Then you can become fertile ground for changing that state. That’s when you can move back into the aligned state of being because that’s where the power and purpose is. That’s where your creativity, inspiration, intuition, connection, presence to life, the ability to see deeply into things, to see brilliant ideas and solutions you couldn’t see before – all reside.
You’re never in both States of Being at the same time. So you’re either in suffering or aligned. And by the way, The Suffering State is always going to show up. That’s just because it’s a programmed mechanism within the human collective story. But the more of us who learn to over and over again, transform that, we not only help ourselves, but we also help humanity as a whole.
So one of the things I want you to think about is how much time you spend in suffering on a daily basis. So if you were to look at your average day, right, and you were to add up all the time that you were stressed or anxious or overwhelmed or feeling not good enough or feeling like there wasn’t enough time or feeling guilty for not doing something or thinking you should do something or you shouldn’t do something, all of that, right?
Of course I still get into suffering states now, but I don’t stay there very long. But I remember in my 20’s, I used to live in that state. I just have to read my journal and remember these week long fights I used to have with my boyfriend, or remember how much I felt I needed a drink to just feel good for a few minutes. I especially liked to wake up in the morning and worry. I would lay in bed and feel overwhelmed not knowing how I was going to get all the things done that I thought I needed to get done in the day. I used to think this was a necessary form of self inflicted pain I needed to go through in order to be productive that day. If I let myself be relaxed, happy, calm then I thought I would just waste the day away staring at the trees. But that was a myth. That relaxed, happy, calm state makes me more productive. I see that now.
So, of course many of clients do that same with the morning worry. I can even catch myself doing it from time to time. That’s why I have many tools to trick my mind out of that state in the wee hours of the morning. Now you may be thinking to yourself, I don’t spend much time in the Suffering State. I mean, I’m productive. I’m not huddled in a corner freaking out, you know, I’m working on the computer, I’m communicating with people. But what’s going on in the background? Different people have different “tells” that they’re looping in a negative way below the surface. Some people have a tight jaw, or tight shoulders, or a sore back, or a clenched stomach, or they get impatient over little things, or keep needing to eat, have more coffee or other kinds of mind altering substances, scroll more on social media, or watch more shows to just get an escape from it for a while. Those might be signs you’re being run by the Suffering State. Again, no judgement. But just know, it’s a choice and you can choose something else anytime you want.
So I want you to come up with your number. How many hours a day do you spend in suffering? One hour, three hours, five hours, 12 hours, every waking hour of your day. Where it’s kind of an underlying frequency in your day. A big reason I say to be kind to yourself about this, is because otherwise you won’t admit it. If you don’t admit it, you can’t change it. You’ll live in self-delusion for another 10 years until some kind of wake up call happens. It doesn’t need to be like that, you can wake up when you choose to do so and make it much easier on yourself.
But the reason why I want you to see how much time you spend in suffering is because if you multiply that by the number of days in the year, right? 365 days, if you’re spending 3 hours a day in suffering, which by the way is a lot less than most people, you’re spending over a 1000 hours a year disconnected from your power, not using your time efficiently, not tapping into your genius, not living into your greatness. And the reason why I want you to see this is because I want you to become fully committed and convinced of the fact that the number one thing that’s preventing you from having the life that you dream of living and perhaps creating the type of business that you want to create is…this habitual suffering state, this MindStory that you need to suffer, when actually you don’t. Suffering is optional.
One of the misconceptions I see a lot of in the personal growth world, is that the suffering state will go away if you will yourself, beat yourself up enough, force yourself to meditate more, journal more, do more exercise…all of which ironically come from the Suffering State. You can’t put out a fire with gasoline. Another way we try to change the Suffering State from the Suffering State is when people think they’re not successful because they don’t know how to do something in particular yet or they don’t have clarity on their purpose, or a team of people to help them. It’s like I need a good project manager, or to be better at public speaking thing, or learn that social media strategy, or get a different business model or a more specified niche. Of course all those can help. But really, none of those things will ultimately help if you’re living a lot of your time from this suffering state. Because if you could eliminate the suffering in those 700 or 7000 hours think of what you would gain back every year? The natural clarity, the discovery of your passion, how you’d easily attract the team, the supporters, the clients, the success. You’d figure out how to do all the things that you need to do. You wouldn’t take no for an answer. You wouldn’t waste those precious moments when you first wake up worrying, imagining what you don’t want.
So, I’ve helped a lot of people switch out of a suffering state when it comes to public speaking, and creating presentations online. There’s that old adage, “Remember there are four presentations you give. The one you planned, the one you did, the one you wished you did, and the one your listeners experienced. Four totally different presentations. In fact, if you had 100 listeners, then that would be 103 different presentations. It’s all in the perception. I always remember this client I had who chose the aligned state a lot more often than the suffering state. Someone messaged him about his presentation saying – you’re no good, this was a waste of my time. He experienced no suffering in that. It’s just that person’s experience. He chose to reach to get more details to see what specifically the person objected to, in case there was something he could improve. This seemed to change his critic’s state of mind, because he wasn’t defensive but curious. She ended up looking more closely at why she had this visceral response to his presentation and couldn’t come up with anything concrete. She joked, it must be that you look a lot like my ex-husband. So, our aligned states can create more alignment and insight for others.
So, it’s a huge freedom to see that there is no stress, anxiety, or overwhelm in the world, that I’m the creator of it, and if I’m the creator of it, I can also be the eliminator of it. So suffering is separate from the experience.
So, here’s a quick practice to help you practice switching out of the suffering state. So there’s the old adage that physical pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional You cannot avoid pain. Even if you are physically healthy now, at some point you may get sick, you may get hurt, and age and physical changes will occur. Pain is inevitable. It will come, and there is nothing you can do to prevent it—yet whether or not you suffer is another matter. Why is it that one woman can go through childbirth claiming that it was the most painful experience of her life while another declares it was the most transcendent? Along with other conditions, including the ease of delivery, the answer may lie in how to relate to pain. Clearly, sensory experiences are different, but how we relate to them—big or small—plays a powerful role as well.
Suppose we define pain as the pure physical sensation of the body responding to some negative stimuli, and suffering as our response to pain. From a mindfulness perspective, it is important to differentiate pain and suffering because however unavoidable pain is, we certainly have some leeway when it comes to suffering.
Try to get as comfortable as you can in a sitting posture. Think of a pain somewhere in your body. It could be tension somewhere or emotional pain in the heart, whatever comes to mind first, something you don’t like.
First take a few breaths and allow yourself to connect with the fact that your body is sitting and noticing pain. Notice your posture and body shape. Now find a part of your body that is not in pain and bring your attention to it. Find a part that feels pleasant or neutral, at the very least. Explore whether your hands, feet, or legs feel relaxed and pleasant. Let your attention stay at this pleasant area for a few moments. Now bring your attention to the area of pain. What do you notice? Is the pain sharp or dull? Burning? Stabbing? Fiery? Clenching? Is it moving, or does it stay in one place? How deeply does it go into your body? Get very curious about the changing set of bodily sensations.
After thirty seconds or so bring your attention back to the pleasant or neutral sensations for the next few minutes. Notice if you have an attitude toward the pain. Do you hate it, fear it, resent it, blame yourself for it? Can you notice how it is that you feel or think about the pain? Do you feel any accompanying body sensation like a clutching feeling in your gut or vibration in your chest? Notice this reaction, breathe, and let it be there. There is nothing wrong with a reaction. If you have no reaction or the reaction stops, feel free to investigate the painful area one more time.
Return your attention to the pleasant area, and once again rest there for a minute or so.
Now, for the last time, return to the painful area. What do you notice? Breathe. Feel whatever is present on the physical level. Offer yourself a little bit of kindness in a way that makes sense to you. You can imagine holding that part of your body with care and compassion, or just offer this attitude to yourself. It’s okay to have this pain or tension. Just allow it to be there, like soothing a child who had a nightmare. It’s ok, it’s ok, it’s okay. You’re okay. Notice what happens. Does anything shift with the pain level? Often that shift into a state of compassion and permission has a big or small effect on the pain.
And just to lock that in with a metaphor, imagine one of those old radio dials where you’d turn it to tune into different stations. So the Suffering State is one radio station and The Aligned State is another. So, see yourself turn the dial onto the Aligned State and lock in in there. Good.
So, you can do that anytime with any pain or tension. Just truly feel love, compassion, understanding, even if just for a few seconds. It can be truly transformational.
For more resources like this you can get a free copy of our book MindStory Inner Coach plus 2 free neuro-blueprints designed to train your brain to be in an aligned state. Or, if you go to that link you can see how to get the book on Amazon. In that case, just send us the receipt, you’ll get sent the 2 free neuro-blueprints. You can see how to get the book using the link in the shownotes below. Or, just go to MindStoryAcademy.com and you’ll see it there on the home page. Its free to get the PDF download, or as I said you’ll also see on that link how to buy it on Amazon.
Then when you get the book you also get access to download two free guided audios that are examples of some of the leading edge tools we developed at MindStory Coaching Academy, that are called neuro-blueprints.
One is called how to end self sabotage, it’s one you would use at night. The other is called your hero’s journey, which you would do in the morning. All together, the audios and the book come to $94 but you can get them free right now.
Also if you’d like to learn how to install our whole MindStory Method into your coaching business see the link below for more details. We help coaches increase their income by 10K or more within 90 days by installing a 5 step system to supercharge all aspects of their business, from getting coaching results that stick to marketing your business in a way that magnetizes ideal people, to reconstructing your sense of power and purpose, to creating a business model that lets you live the lifestyle you love. See the MindStory Method link for Coaches, in the shownotes.
That’s it for today, I hope it was useful. Do hit subscribe if you want to hear about other episodes coming up, which you can do on our website MindStoryAcademy.com\podcast. and you’ll see all the ways to subscribe or, if you’re listening on YouTube, just subscribe to our channel. Until next time, I’m Carla Rieger. Thank you for listening.