Monday, July 18, 2016

Meditation Monday: When the World Falls Apart

By Nancy Hall, MA, NCC, LPC

In an effort to take the “manic” out of “Monday,” this weekly post explores techniques, issues, latest research, and other thoughts on meditation. Nancy facilitates two weekly meditation groups at The Awakening Center. For more information, contact her at 773.929.6262, extension 17 or

In recent weeks, I’ve had several clients express embarrassment over talking about their own feelings and problems when the world around them seems to be on fire. Suddenly, they feel that their worries are small—even insignificant.

The violence and hatred cast long and heavy shadows over everything. But this is not new. Throughout history, humans have shown that they are capable of unspeakable acts. It is an unfortunate reality of our existence. Yet, we don’t exactly know why. Evil? Psychosis?

What we do know is that people don’t cause suffering unless they’re suffering themselves. A perfectly content, accepting, and peaceful person does not decide to murder police officers or tourists.

And acknowledging this suffering does not excuse the horrific behavior. It does, however, give us a context. Which leads me back to my clients. Each person who comes into therapy or attends a group has decided to take responsibility for his or her suffering. So while the fight with a partner or struggle at work might feel petty, processing those battles helps calm the discontent that poisons the world around us.

Many find reflecting on the world’s events can help them realize their own problems are manageable. But we can also be good at using these crises to dismiss ourselves. “People are suffering in Syria—who cares about my body image issues?”

Unfortunately, suffering is not a zero-sum game—there is plenty to go around. But there is also plenty of healing, kindness, and peace to go around too. While your pain might feel small—it isn’t. And each step toward healing yourself heals the world.

Enjoy your practice.

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