There is almost nothing we desire more as human beings than to be free from suffering. If only we can avoid pain and discomfort, we tell ourselves, freedom can be ours. Who wouldn’t want such an existence?
The problem is, we can never truly avoid the inevitable difficulties of life. But rather than resisting them, what if we could welcome them—befriend them, even—as part of the wonderful, imperfect wholeness of our experience?
As Pema Chödrön teaches, one of the most important lessons on the spiritual path is that freedom lies not in the absence of discomfort, but in the acceptance of it. When we release ourselves from the grips of our long-held fears, habits, and storylines, then we can begin to uncover the wide river of wisdom that flows through us—a river that leads to the naturally free state of our true, fundamental selves.