Suffering is Not Just for Succotash

People with panic disorder suffer almost continually from the buzz of anxiety. Certainly there is much worse suffering in the world, but the feeling of dread and hopelessness that sets in with the constant threat of panic attacks is hard to bear day after day. Do you get the feeling that you’ve lost the ability to change your picture – that you have forgotten how or where to find joy?

Prominent Buddhist spokesman Thich Nhat Han says you’re not looking hard enough. The Vietnamese monk advises us that we possess within us happiness and well-being; we just have to find it.  In his book The Heart of Buddhist Teaching, he says, “When you are suffering, look deeply at your situation and find the conditions for happiness that are already there, already available.”  He continues, “Please ask yourself ‘What nourishes joy in me?  What nourishes joy in others? Do I nourish joy in myself and others?'”

The place he advises us to go for relief from suffering is our memory bank. In his words, “If you are not experiencing peace and joy, you can remember having felt peace and joy, and you see that well-being is possible.” Summoning up past positive feelings when you are suffering can give you a present positive feeling. Employ visualizations as a tool to help you achieve this.

People oppressed by panic attacks and agoraphobia should be working daily on getting a positive flow going along the thought highway. Here’s to overcoming suffering through daily practices.

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