Existential issues are those crucial and universal concerns all of us face simply because we are human. They include finding meaning and purpose in our lives; managing relationships and aloneness; acknowledging our limits and smallness in a universe vast beyond comprehension; living in inevitable uncertainty and mystery; and dealing with sickness, suffering, and death. A person who has developed deep insights into these issues – and skills for dealing with them – is wise indeed.
Visionary wisdom sees that conventional ways of living are rife with suffering. Practical wisdom begins when a person recognizes there must be a better way to live and commits to finding it. The quest to awaken begins.
Wisdom recognizes the awesome power of the mind to both create and cloud our experience, to produce ecstasy and suffering, and to learn or stagnate. Once you appreciate the all-consuming power of the mind, learning how your mind works and how to train it become vital goals.”
Roger Walsh. “Essential Spirituality. The 7 Central Practices to Awaken Heart and Mind.” John Wiley & Sons Inc, 1999.
"Our unwillingness to turn towards & relate kindly to negative mind states causes suffering." Bill Morgan
“Our suffering is caused by holding on to how things might have been, should have been, could have been.” Stephen Levine
"... investigate how resistance turns pain into suffering, the unpleasant into the unbearable." Stephen Levine
“Our intelligence and dignity themselves are developed by our being alive for everything, including the mundane anguish of our lives. Just our awareness of our sensations, of our experience, with no object or idea in mind, is the practice of not preferring any particular state of mind. Intimacy with our activity and the objects around us connects us deeply to our lives. This connection – to the earth, our bodies, our sense impressions, our creative energies, our feelings, other people – is the only way I know of to alleviate suffering. To me, our awareness of these things without preference is a meditation that synchronizes body and mind. This synchronization, the experience of deep integrity, of being all of a piece, is a very deep healing. It is unconventional to value such a subtle experience. It is not encouraged in our culture. We’re much more apt to strive to feel special, uniquely talented, particularly loved. It’s extraordinary to be willing to live an ordinary life, to be fully alive for the laundry, to be present for the dishes. We overlook these everyday connections to our lives, waiting for the Big Event.
Because our conditioning to avoid unpleasantness, the hardest thing may not be bearing the unpleasant experiences we have so much as learning how to experience the details of our suffering so thoroughly that ‘suffering,’ ‘stress,’ and ‘pain’ lose their distinctive character and just become our lives, and rich lives at that.”
Darlene Cohen. “Turning Suffering Inside Out: A Zen Approach to Living with Physical and Emotional Pain.” Shambhala, 2002.
“If this world is to be healed through human efforts,
I am convinced it will be by ordinary people
whose love for life is even greater than their fear." Joanna Macy
Joanna Macy “discovered that when people opened up to the pain they felt for the world, they began to sense a deeper connection with life.”
“Wisdom is deep understanding and practical skill in the central issues of life, especially existential and spiritual issues.
Existential issues are those crucial and universal concerns all of us face simply because we are human. They include finding meaning and purpose in our lives; managing relationships and aloneness; acknowledging our limits and smallness in a universe vast beyond comprehension; living in inevitable uncertainty and mystery; and dealing with sickness, suffering, and death. A person who has developed deep insights into these issues – and skills for dealing with them – is wise indeed.”
Joseph Goldstein, Jack Kornfield. “Seeking the Heart of Wisdom. The Path of Insight Meditation.” Shambhala, 2001.