You know what it’s like to feel stuck.
You’ve arrived on one side of the tracks hoping to cross only to confront a slow moving wall. Its monotonous graffiti demands you find meaning in nothing like the running commentary on the lower screen of CNN. You can’t even be entertained with the thought of yourself as the next Jack Kerouac because there aren’t any rebel-yell hobos riding for free anymore. And the monotonous screech of the train’s metal against metal and the rhythmic beep of the caution signal is enough to make you go postal.
Waiting to get to the other side of the tracks is dukha, “having a “bad” (du) “wheel” (kha). With dukha, you can’t make strides. You can’t go back and you can’t move ahead. You itch all over, but no scratch will satisfy. You wish you still smoked so you’d have something—anything—to do with your itchy self.
Yes, we’ve all waited for that train. We’ve all been stuck, held down and smothered by our sumo limitations. Yet while waiting to cross over to the next phase of your life, there is a way to deal with your dukha that makes it less du and more su.
In Sanskrit, sukha is the antonym of dukha. It’s the way of wheels in motion.
And while pain may be inevitable (thank you, Buddha, for making us aware of life’s First Noble Truth), suffering is most certainly optional and has an end in sight. (Thank you, Buddha, for granting us the Third Noble Truth.)
Here are 10 Ways to opt for more su in your dukha:
1.) Cultivate a Daily Discipline of Meditation.
There’s a very practical reason why we all need to meditate daily: to wash off the stress. Poorly managed stress weakens the body, produces limiting thoughts and inflames the emotions. Daily meditation is the same antidote to personal filth as your daily shower. It cleanses and refreshes you. And it ensures that nothing clings to you for long.
2.) Heal Old Wounds.
There’s no way around it. Healing requires time and patience. You can’t do anything about it except wait for the moment when you finally realize how perfect everything really was. (And remember: Healing is not curing.)
3.) Know Yourself.
Nothing is worse than wishing you were someone else. You’re a rare orchid, baby—the kind that only blooms in the rain forest once every century under perfect conditions. Know who you are and what you came here for.
4.) Prepare for What’s Coming.
One of the most unfortunate symptoms of our modern age is that we distrust our intuition. Yet we all know it’s coming. We don’t know what’s coming, but it’s coming. So get your house in order.
5.) Act with Wisdom.
Wisdom sounds very noble, but it’s really just a cultured way of seeing, knowing and acting that we all grow into as we age. In life, you’re given many opportunities to see all kinds of sh*t hitting the fan. Eventually you learn to stop putting your hand in it. That’s wisdom.
6.) Dedicate Your Actions to Something Higher.
The problem with the “Cult of Me” is that it leads to depression. The deep inward gravity of self-obsession becomes a very dark hole. If you cast “Me” and “Mine” aside, however, it makes a bio-chemical difference. You simply feel better when you do something for someone else: scientifically proven!
7.) Live with Purpose.
Living with purpose is akin to living mindfully. Even when it reaches the point of becoming obnoxious to your family and friends, see purpose in everything. Seek meaning in everything. Deepen your sense of wonder. And take risks. Lots of them.
8.) Share What’s Given.
There’s no reason to hold onto anything. When you do, you create a log jam and things build up unnecessarily. You don’t need any thing to make you happy. So give your excess away. If everyone did this, we’d all be abundant.
9.) Don’t Be the Doer.
There’s a time to sow and there’s a time to reap. In between these times is a lot of downtime. You’re not in control of any of these times. They’re just happenings. You respond because you have no choice. You’re not the doer.
10.) Live a Karma-Free Life.
Karma is just fermented regret. It’s a familiar odor that clings to you, inspiring a distinct breed of actions that have similar consequences. Be careful of your regrets. What’s done is done. The past was your destiny. The future is your free will.
Editor: Kate Bartolotta