As humans, we experience exquisite joy and excruciating pain. No one is exempt; we are born uncomfortable. If we are alive we will suffer; bodies get sick, hearts get broken, everything we cherish will perish. Over and over we are asked to live when the unlivable is occurring. We respond as any animal would: we recoil from pain, we flee from danger, we fight when threatened, we surrender when captured. These responses are biological realities that lead to survival in most other mammals. However, these same instincts in humans - although also ensuring survival - tend to increase suffering. To deny, dominate and control what is unwanted and unpleasant – essentially to act on instinct - puts us at fundamental odds with reality. So then, what do we do?

The opposite. Recognize, allow, and go towards. We cannot choose what is happening, only how we meet it. Whatever the issue may be, whether internal or external, temporary or permanent, incidental or fundamental, it is the relationship to the problem that defines the experience of it. Avoiding, hating, ignoring, managing, controlling, muting, and fighting pain - all understandable and reasonable - seem to do little good. In fact, these efforts often cause other problems. Instead, when we care about our pain, when we treat it kindly and with concern- to put it very simply- this simply does help. Easier said than done of course. But for certain, this can be done.