In the world of meditation and other wellness and holistic modalities, allowing one’s self to live in a state of constant stress and elevated vigilance is defined as “suffering”. When we exist in a state of sustained suffering, we disconnect ourselves from the present reality and submerge ourselves in a world of illusion. The illusion is the belief that the trauma or negative experience remains present, therefore we continue to live in this negative state long after the actual situation has past. The human body continues to produce the same biochemical compounds associated with stress as if we were actually living the stressful situation in real-time. In many cases, just the thought of a past trauma is enough to fool the brain and body to believe it’s actually ‘living’ the trauma or stress. It can even trigger a fight-or-flight response even though that negative experience has already been experienced, making it very difficult to function and cope with even the most mundane situations in life. Once a trauma or stressful situation has past, we’re left having to process the ‘after-effects’ of the event be they physical, emotional or psychological.
Distinguishing between the ‘event’ and the event ‘after-effects’ is an important step in getting out of the ‘suffering’ mode and getting back into the present. By recognizing, on a conscious and subconscious level, that you have moved out of a stressful situation and into the processing and healing phase of a challenging life-situation, you can disconnect yourself from the cycle of sustained ‘suffering’. Mindfulness is one way in which you can enact a positive change in your quality of life. It can assist you in making the important shift of perspectives from one of suffering, to one of letting go of negative life experiences and re-joining the abundance found in the present moments of life.