I met a fellow coach, Charlie Badenhop, in Tokyo a while back and I finally just recently took some time to read through his book, “Pure Heart Simple Mind.” Charlie is a New Yorker who moved to Japan many years ago. His book shares some of the wisdom he’s picked up during his time in Japan.
One of the stories he tells quotes his Aikido Sensei. Here is an excerpt:
“If it wasn’t for your suffering who would you be today?
Your answer will say a lot about the way you feel about yourself, the manner in which you approach learning and change, and the reason you come to class. You will improve the quality of your life by immersing yourself in your struggle rather than looking to escape from it. By realizing that pain is something you create inside your head.
I suggest you ask yourself, “How does my perception of my current problem, my current struggle, mirror my overall beliefs in life?
If your current situation stayed the same but you changed your belief system, would you still be suffering? How would your problems appear to be different if you were different?
Happiness and suffering are two sides of the same coin. Look for the happiness inherent in your current suffering, rather than looking to fix what you perceive to be wrong.”
For me, this really clarified the concept of suffering. It doesn’t suggest that we wallow around in our own suffering. Instead, it’s important to recognize suffering for what it is. Once we’ve recognized that suffering is the result of our flawed thinking, then we’re better equipped to move forward into happiness.
For more information about Charlie, his book and his coaching methodology, visit his Web site: http://www.seishindo.org/.