Contrast is like trying a new food, realizing you don't like it, and then spitting it out.
Suffering is like trying a new food, realizing you don't like it, and then forcing yourself to eat it over and over again because you think that you have no other choice.
Contrast is inevitable.
Suffering is optional.
Many times, people do not understand why they would ever want to be in this physical dimension because they experience so much suffering and see so much suffering in the lives of people around them. But what they don't fully understand is that it is always a choice to suffer. It is always a choice to remain focused on that which is unwanted and therefore feel the resistance and pain that this creates.
It is not a choice to be exposed to that which is unwanted, because we live in the realm of contrast, full of things that we like and things that we don't like in equal proportions. The only reason one person experiences more of what they want is because they have chosen to orient their focus toward that which they want. And the only reason that someone experiences more of what they do not want is because they have chosen to focus on what they do not want. Period.
When you are predominantly focused on unwanted things and you feel as if there is no way out, that you are condemned to experience unwanted situations and circumstances, you suffer as a consequence. You lose sight of the fact that there is always a way out, and that relief and freedom can be achieved instantly. The veil of illusion created by repetitive thoughts and beliefs is the only thing that blocks you from this truth. I have had much experience of this in my own life and when you are seemingly trapped in a cycle of constant negativity it can seem utterly hopeless, but there is always the opportunity to transcend suffering NOW.
Keys to transcending suffering and experiencing an overwhelmingly joyful and satisfying exploration of contrast:
1. Realize you are NOT this experience, you are NOT your past, future, or even your present. You are not the mind which is narrating these words in your head that you are reading right now. YOU are the ONE witnessing it all, the experiencer, if you will. THIS CANNOT BE UNDERSTOOD BY THE MIND!!! This MUST be a deep, fundamental realization that is more of a feeling or state of being than anything else. In a sense, it is Consciousness becoming aware of itself. For more information on this subject, look into the teachings of Eckhart Tolle (They have been profoundly life-changing for me personally)
2. Orient your focus toward the POSITIVE! Always do your best to look at the bright side of life, as cliche as it might sound. Reach for the best feeling thought, or the best feeling focus in this moment. It may just be that the best feeling you can achieve is through the absence of thought, by focusing on a sound, sight, taste, smell, or feeling. Do whatever feels best NOW!
3. Love yourself 100%! Do WHATEVER it takes to completely fall in love with yourself, regardless of your current condition or circumstances. If you are in a state where you really don't like yourself, be gentle and gradual with this process. Have compassion for yourself, and realize that all things are absolutely impermanent and transitory. "This too shall pass". Also realize that when you fully and completely accept the Now, you also, by default, completely accept yourself because you cannot be in resistance to anything when you are in full acceptance of your present moment reality.
4. Understand the absolute benevolence of All-That-Is. Realize deeply that there is no negative or "evil" force out to get you, and that the only negativity is generated from within you through improper and undisciplined focus. Realize that your fear, guilt, shame, paranoia, or any other negative emotion is NOT your fault. Fault implies blame and there is no one and nothing to blame for anything. Often times we grow up in environments that are full of negative emotions and low vibrations and we suck them up like a sponge. These thoughts and feelings are repressed because we are unable to cope with them as young children and then they resurface when we begin to develop more consciousness as adults.
5. EMBRACE THE DARKNESS! We come to the conclusion in life that darkness or negativity is bad or wrong and should not exist. We fear it, run away from it, and resist it. This is precisely what keeps it in our experience. The truth of the matter is that negativity is your very best friend. You shadow is your lover in the most intimate way imaginable. It is always showing you the way, pointing you in the direction of where you want to go. Often times we are afraid to look at our shadow directly, because to do so we must turn away from the light and venture into the dark and scary parts of ourselves. Think of being outside on a bright, sunny day. When you are facing the sun, you cannot see your shadow because it is behind you, but when you turn around you stand face to face with the dark projection of your form. So allow yourself at times to leave the comfort of the light and venture into this place to process these repressed negative thoughts, feelings and emotions. The key is to be present with them and embrace them like a scared, crying child. Bring light and spaciousness into the darkness and allow the shadows to fully express themselves in your warm and loving embrace. Believe me, you can learn a lot from this practice and you will feel much better after doing this. If you do not deliberately and consciously face the shadow, you can rest assured that it will be reflected back to you in other people and in circumstances and events that present themselves in your day to day life.
6. Don't take anything seriously or personally! Smile, joke around, laugh until you cry and it's hard to breathe! This life is not meant to be taken seriously, it is truly meant to be a fun and enjoyable learning experience. Like a roller coaster, it has its ups and downs, and can be frightening at times, but over all it is fun and exhilarating, and then it's over before you know it. Also, remember not to take anything personally. When you take things personally, it's because you've fallen into the illusion that there is a separate person or ego there that can be hurt and offended. When you are rooted in Being and Awareness (See step #1 ) you realize the individual being or form that the mind creates is not who you really are, and you no longer take things personally. Also, realize that how others view you really doesn't have anything to do with you but is merely a reflection of their current state of consciousness. If someone is in a shitty mood, no matter how awesome and cool you are, they most likely will not see it. They will perceive you through the filter of their negative emotional state. On the other hand, if someone is in a great emotional head space and you are being a complete asshole, they will most likely only see the best in you and still love you regardless. So take it all with a grain of salt, so to speak. It's NOT personal.
7. Last but certainly not least, realize that the absolute truth of everything is that of absolute ONENESS. Everything is ONE, and YOU are the ONE experiencing yourself from an infinite number of different perspectives. From a cosmic perspective, you are just as much your body as you are the tree outside of your window or even the computer or device that you are reading at this moment. You are just as much the person reading this as you are the one who typed it. This can be difficult to comprehend with the mind because the mind itself is based on separation. It views everything as separate and has separate definitions and labels for all the things that it perceives. This is what allows you to make sense of this reality and function in the world. But whether you realize it in this lifetime or not, the ultimate truth of the Universe and All-That-Is is that of ONENESS and you will know this at the latest upon death. They key is to have the intention and deliberate focus toward recognizing this Truth while still alive and manifested in the physical. You will find yourself becoming much more compassionate, loving, and understanding toward people, even ones you may have once disliked or viewed as enemies. Always be at ONE!