Nothing lasts forever.
And that truth can be depressing and sad to think about.
But, what if we flip it around?
And when we’re having a tough time in life, when we’re going through a breakup, or losing a job, or grieving the death of a loved one, we could realize that nothing lasts forever, not even suffering.
Not sadness. Not grief.
There’s really nothing we can do to speed up the really bummer times. We have to be with them. We have to lean in. Because any resistance just drags suffering out longer.
Seriously. I’ve got Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. The real diagnosis, not the funny memes, or stupid t-shirts.
I can hold onto suffering like no one else I know.
Remembering casual comments that I took as hurtful digs and ruminating over them for almost ever. Pining away over those that moved on from my life while tracing the outline of faces in my memories.
Grounding one’s self in the present can be helpful. And being open to experiencing suffering helps too. Because although what may be bothering us lives only in the past, the suffering is here now and it’s very real.
So, have a seat in your chair or on your cushion. You could even lay on the floor or in the grass.
Take a deep breath in and let it out.
Do that again.
Okay, one more time.
And then let your breathing return to normal.
Now, focus on what you’re feeling. How does suffering feel? Where do you feel it in your body?
Mine usually feels like a murky cocktail of anxiety and depression that’s been spilled on my chest.
Focus your attention on the sensations. And allow yourself to enter the suffering completely.
You’ll probably feel worse initially as the suffering grows like a crescendo of awfulness. But stay with as best you can.
And you may notice that the suffering changes. Maybe heart-pounding anxiety turns into a more manageable sadness. Maybe depression lessons.
Maybe whatever you’re feeling is still there but it’s smaller now, duller, easier to carry through your day.
Maybe you’re able to lose the suffering completely.
Or maybe it will gradually fade out.
Because nothing lasts forever.
*This essay originally appeared on The Goodmen Project.