Pain, meaning, boredom

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FACING PAIN
Lessening Our Pain

by Mark Nepo
The Huffington Post Blog

How do you cope with pain?  When was the last time you embraced the source of your pain, rather than pushed it away?  Why is it that “[w]e all try to kill what hurts us, when the only thing that will lessen our pain is to face what hurts us?” With this beautiful poem and reflection, Nepo invites us to accept life, even the difficult elements that so often cause hurt and pain, so that we may “receive meaning from everything that is not us.”

LOOKING INWARD, TURNING OUTWARD
The Gospel According to ‘Me’

by Simon Critchley and Jamieson Webster
The New York Times

How does authenticity relate to spirituality?  Can spirituality exist in the absence of a belief in interconnectedness?  In a critique of the popularized self-help and New Age spirituality movements, Critchley and Webster suggest that “[i]n a seemingly meaningless, inauthentic world awash in nonstop media reports of war, violence and inequality, we close our eyes and turn ourselves into islands.” Still Harbor believes that a deepening of the interior life means understanding how we relate to one another and to a higher understanding in order to make change in the world. This article provides an opportunity to question how we each approach our interior formation and what it means to understand it through our own point of view.

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ENGAGING WITH BOREDOM
Our fear of boredom is simply a fear of coming face to face with ourselves
by Giles Fraser
The Guardian

When was the last time you felt bored?  How did you respond?  Why does boredom so often translate into meaninglessness?  In response to the viral flash mob video by Reverend Kate Bottley (embedded in the article), Fraser challenges our collective, cultural fear of being bored.  Rather than filling our lives with continuous distractions, he invites us to transform moments of boredom into space for contemplating the fears of emptiness and abandonment that make boredom so negative.  In quoting the British psychoanalyst Wilfred Bion, Fraser reminds us that “[i]nability to tolerate empty space limits the amount of space available.”

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