i used to think suffering was cool.

words & photo by Brian Thomson.

i used to think that suffering was cool.

all of my heroes were tortured, angry and misunderstood, so shouldn’t i be too? their pain was glorified by their success, and their constant struggle seemed a necessary part of their creativity and art. so i too then assumed their uniform of pain, wearing it as my own, as a form of solidarity, i suppose.

i used to think a person had to go against the grain in order to be free (even though i never even knew what being free actually meant). i used to think i had to fight and kick and scream, and resist the world at every possible turn to defend my narrow point of view.

however, i know now the exact opposite is true — in order to be free, one must simply go with the flow. if you thrash and flail wildly about, and if you expend every ounce of energy you have, you will soon tire. you will panic, you will become out of breath, and you will sink.

going with the flow doesn’t mean conforming to or accepting the status quo, it means no longer struggling against the undeniable nature of whatever is. when we resist against whatever moment we’re in, we become reactive and lose control; we cede our personal power and become hapless victims of our own overwrought emotions.

why unnecessarily burden yourself with the corrosive agents of angst and frustration? don’t weaken yourself with a rusted mind.

we need not be maddened by the confusion, wrongdoing, suffering or insanity of the world — doing so only makes us feel no better than the rest — doing so only renders us powerless to contribute positive and uplifting change.

if you allow your equanimity to be negatively affected by every passing wind, then you’ll be forever faced with a never-ending fight — the wind never stops.

whatever your experience is, in this very moment, it is all yours — not theirs — own it. make it yours by being in control, and not by letting every little fly that happens to buzz by send you off into a fit of frenzy.

i am i, alone — that’s what makes me free — any thought that says otherwise will imprison me.

to find the peace we all seek, we simply need to relax and go with the flow; unentangled by the discarded fabric of our minds, unencumbered by the burden of our comparisons, judgements or contempt.

when we resist, we only cause undue stress on ourselves.

if you hate the world, you’ll never find happiness. if you hate the moment, you will suffer. if you hate yourself, you’ll never be free.

we must discard our old habits of confrontational and defensive thinking; we must look at the world anew. this will of course require a total reset of the mind, one requiring patience and diligent, mindful practice.

but if you search for beauty within every passing moment, you will find it — i assure you.

your mind will want to drift towards its old negative habits, so remind yourself to simply search for beauty, every possible moment you can.