Erich Schiffmann - Freedom Yoga

Beyond Fear & Suffering: Learning to See Life As It Is – Erich Schiffmann

We are suffering because of ignorance. We are suffering because we don’t know how things work, because we don’t know who we are, and because we allow our thinking minds to overrule our inner voice. And we’re suffering needlessly. In other words, it can be circumvented.

Think of it like this: the fact that you are experiencing fear, for example, does not mean that the cause of the fear is legitimate. You may see a snake in the doorway and experience great fear. But when you realize it’s just a piece of ribbon, and that there is in fact no snake in the doorway, the fear goes away. You’re seeing the same thing still, but you’re interpreting it differently.

Use the fact that you are experiencing fear, then, as a cue to the realization that you are misinterpreting what you are seeing. Understand that fear is not legitimate. When you’re seeing things as they actually are, you won’t be afraid. And whenever you are experiencing fear, it’s because you are not interpreting whatever it is accurately. You are misinterpreting what’s happening and therefore experiencing fear. When you see any situation clearly you will realize there is nothing to be afraid of. We don’t know this at first, though. That’s why it’s important to consciously experience the energy we’re made of. Once that begins to happen you start seeing the world differently. You interpret what’s going on more accurately.

As far as suffering is concerned, suffering is feedback. It’s what happens when you make uninformed decisions. And therefore, funnily enough, it’s a good thing. When you put your hand on a hot stove, for example, it burns and hurts. Luckily! If it didn’t hurt you might not know your hand was burning. You could disfigure it out of functional usage or lose it altogether. Suffering is no fun. Suffering hurts. We should all strive to be free of suffering. But it does play an important role in learning to do the right thing. Suffering is not essential to psychological growth, however. Growth doesn’t hurt. Blooming isn’t painful. Don’t be confused about that. Growth only hurts when you resist it.

Okay? Work with those ideas. See whether they are true or not. The next time you are afraid, for example—for any reason—pause mentally, suspend your fear if you can, and ask inwardly for clarity, then look anew at the situation or circumstance that is frightening you. See if you don’t see it differently, and in a way which alleviates the fear, or at least gives you a new approach to resolving or dealing with the situation that is causing the fear.

That is basically what I am saying. I’m saying that God is Love and that God is All in all. And that if this is what you are relating to, if this is what you are seeing, you will experience no fear. What you will experience instead is love, and tenderness, and gentleness, and caring. And you will feel nourished and held and comforted. And you will feel deeply soothed, and you will relax. And you’ll understand why people do the crazy, cruel things they do. We’re violent when we are afraid. And then we suffer. And we’re afraid whenever we are not understanding whatever it is accurately. It’s worth a try, therefore, to test out what I’m saying. Play with it. Suspend your conditioning and look anew.


About Erich Schiffmann

Erich Schiffmann - Freedom YogaErich Schiffmann is one of the most respected mentors and yoga teachers in America. Having studied first-hand with Jiddu Krishnamurti, BKS Iyengar, TKV Desikachar, Dona Holleman, Vanda Scaravelli, Joel Kramer, Rajpur and others, he has gleaned the best of all of their teachings during his almost fifty years of practice and distilled them within his own experience of yoga. From that he arrived upon a path that has proven to have great resonance with those seeking a deeper sense of stillness, peace and being.

Feathered Pipe has been privileged beyond words to share space with him summer after summer at the Ranch. His teachings and his spirit inspire and enrich all. His wisdom continually validates that there are deep treasures to discovered in the search, and that to seek with curiosity, joy and sincerity is to find.

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