A Loss, You Need To Choose Between Suffering and Awakening

Table of Contents

Sooner or later, everybody experiences loss in their lives. Sometimes, from minor disappointments.

Other times, big things happen, such as redundancy, bankruptcy, divorce, the death of a loved one, or illness.

When a significant loss or disappointment happens, you have a choice.

 

Choice number 1: Close your heart

We see close-hearted people all the time: Full of bitterness, resentment, and grievances. Attached to their victimhood story. Basing their sense of self on their pain and anger.

Full of fear and pessimism towards the future. Contracting their experience of life so as not to get hurt again. Avoiding deep relationships so as not to experience more pain.

It is common to contract after deep pain, which might provide an illusion of control. But the truth is that what you resist persists. By contracting, you eternalize your suffering.

 

Choice number 2: Open your heart

When life pierces through your heart, it has the potential to open it. After you experience pain, you can become more compassionate to the pain of others.
In your vulnerability, you feel solidarity with the suffering human race and all those who suffered before you.

An open heart does not only mean compassion for others’ suffering. It also means surrendering to what is and letting go of resistance to the present moment.

Spiritual masters say that after a dark night of the soul, a period of intense suffering, and finding everything meaningless, there is an opportunity for awakening.

I like this definition of spiritual awakening the most: Not being identified with your thoughts, emotions, or life situation. Being present in the here and now from the seat of the observer. Being here as awareness and pure consciousness. Being in peace, irrespective of external events.

 

How Suffering Offers An Opportunity For Awakening

We tend to build our sense of self and life with concepts from the world of form. Possessions, beauty, financial success, reputation, professional success, relationships, marriage, kids…

The problem with the world of form is that everything is impermanent. Nothing lasts forever; everything has a cycle of birth and death.

When we build our sense of self and life with impermanent concepts, objects, and relationships, we are bound to be disappointed.

It is like building a castle in the sand; sooner or later, a big wave will wipe it out.

When there is a significant loss, the tapestry of our life gets a big hole.

Many people cannot handle a loss that threatens their sense of self. There were 10,000 additional suicides during the financial crisis of 2008-09.

Some people who lost their jobs or had their homes foreclosed could not take that hole in their tapestry of life.

Spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle argues that rarely does anyone awaken spiritually when things go well.

Most people experience their spiritual awakening when they are suffering. They understand that, given its impermanent nature, nothing in the world of form can offer lasting fulfillment.

So, the only choice is to find refuge in your inner Self—the part of you that exists above thought, pain, or external events.

When your life tapestry has been blown up, you have an opportunity for awakening. Letting go of all the societal conditioning about who you are.

Stopping to identify with anything impermanent anymore.

Search for the part of you that is in peace irrespective of external circumstances. And if you are lucky, find the part in you that is timeless and eternal.

 

Conclusion

Going through loss is painful, difficult, and it offers you a choice.

Close your heart and suffer forever. Or open your heart and shower the present moment with your full attention.

The loss will still be painful, but you might get in touch with a part of you that is more real than the mind-made self you had created.

I will leave you with a quote by Leonard Coen:

“There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

The choice is yours.

 

Download my free guide with the 10 Powerful Mindset Shifts To Achieve Your Vision.

Discover:
What are the 10 telltale signs that you are living your vision?
What are the 3 things you might think you need for success but you really don’t.
The 10 mindset shifts all my clients who enjoy success in all areas of their lives have made.

Link here.

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Picture of Caterina Kostoula

Caterina Kostoula

Caterina Kostoula is an executive coach and founder of The Leaderpath.

Her mission is to coach pioneering leaders for impact and fulfilment.

She has worked as a Global Business Leader at Google where she was
also a 5-star rated internal coach. She has coached leaders and teams from Google, Amazon, Stripe and Workable, as well as a number of startups.

Caterina teaches the popular Life Vision Programme at INSEAD Business School.

Her work has been featured in Forbes, Fast Company and Thrive Global. Her best-selling book, “Hold Successful Meetings”, was published by Penguin in 2021. Her TEDx talk is called “Do your goals prevent your success?”

Education

– MSc in Executive Coaching from Ashridge Business School (EMCC-accredited)

– INSEAD MBA

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A Loss, You Need To Choose Between Suffering and Awakening

Sooner or later, everybody experiences loss in their lives. Sometimes, from minor disappointments.

Other times, big things happen, such as redundancy, bankruptcy, divorce, the death of a loved one, or illness.

When a significant loss or disappointment happens, you have a choice.

 

Choice number 1: Close your heart

We see close-hearted people all the time: Full of bitterness, resentment, and grievances. Attached to their victimhood story. Basing their sense of self on their pain and anger.

Full of fear and pessimism towards the future. Contracting their experience of life so as not to get hurt again. Avoiding deep relationships so as not to experience more pain.

It is common to contract after deep pain, which might provide an illusion of control. But the truth is that what you resist persists. By contracting, you eternalize your suffering.

 

Choice number 2: Open your heart

When life pierces through your heart, it has the potential to open it. After you experience pain, you can become more compassionate to the pain of others.
In your vulnerability, you feel solidarity with the suffering human race and all those who suffered before you.

An open heart does not only mean compassion for others’ suffering. It also means surrendering to what is and letting go of resistance to the present moment.

Spiritual masters say that after a dark night of the soul, a period of intense suffering, and finding everything meaningless, there is an opportunity for awakening.

I like this definition of spiritual awakening the most: Not being identified with your thoughts, emotions, or life situation. Being present in the here and now from the seat of the observer. Being here as awareness and pure consciousness. Being in peace, irrespective of external events.

 

How Suffering Offers An Opportunity For Awakening

We tend to build our sense of self and life with concepts from the world of form. Possessions, beauty, financial success, reputation, professional success, relationships, marriage, kids…

The problem with the world of form is that everything is impermanent. Nothing lasts forever; everything has a cycle of birth and death.

When we build our sense of self and life with impermanent concepts, objects, and relationships, we are bound to be disappointed.

It is like building a castle in the sand; sooner or later, a big wave will wipe it out.

When there is a significant loss, the tapestry of our life gets a big hole.

Many people cannot handle a loss that threatens their sense of self. There were 10,000 additional suicides during the financial crisis of 2008-09.

Some people who lost their jobs or had their homes foreclosed could not take that hole in their tapestry of life.

Spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle argues that rarely does anyone awaken spiritually when things go well.

Most people experience their spiritual awakening when they are suffering. They understand that, given its impermanent nature, nothing in the world of form can offer lasting fulfillment.

So, the only choice is to find refuge in your inner Self—the part of you that exists above thought, pain, or external events.

When your life tapestry has been blown up, you have an opportunity for awakening. Letting go of all the societal conditioning about who you are.

Stopping to identify with anything impermanent anymore.

Search for the part of you that is in peace irrespective of external circumstances. And if you are lucky, find the part in you that is timeless and eternal.

 

Conclusion

Going through loss is painful, difficult, and it offers you a choice.

Close your heart and suffer forever. Or open your heart and shower the present moment with your full attention.

The loss will still be painful, but you might get in touch with a part of you that is more real than the mind-made self you had created.

I will leave you with a quote by Leonard Coen:

“There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

The choice is yours.

 

Download my free guide with the 10 Powerful Mindset Shifts To Achieve Your Vision.

Discover:
What are the 10 telltale signs that you are living your vision?
What are the 3 things you might think you need for success but you really don’t.
The 10 mindset shifts all my clients who enjoy success in all areas of their lives have made.

Link here.