Over on The Huffington Post, psychiatrist Elana Miller talks about how a passage in “A Path With A Heart” changed the way she looked at challenges and obstacles. Miller explains how she was going through an incredibly rough patch during which she was sure that her life couldn’t get much worse. But after reading the passage, she understood she needed to face challenges with wisdom, equanimity, and compassion. Miller discusses 9 ways to become a “spiritual warrior” – these three are those that resonated with me.

“Turn Straw Into Gold”

Instead of allowing our suffering to overwhelm us, Miller suggests that we take the opportunity to learn about ourselves. She argues that it is our suffering that allows us to be compassionate to others, as well as grateful for the good things in our lives. Suffering allows us to develop strength in the face of painful circumstances. Who couldn’t use a little extra strength now and then?

“Recognize the Difference Between Pain and Suffering”

What does that mean, exactly? Aren’t they the same? Not according Miller – she references Eastern philosophy, which holds that pain is the inevitable harships of life, while suffering is the avoidable negative narrative we add on top of that. It is certainly something to think about – bad things happen, but it is the negative mentality that can accompany pain that causes suffering. So the next time something bad happens, don’t transform it into something worse than it is. Take it at face value, and deal with it that way – purposefully avoid the negative thoughts, and you may avoid suffering as well.

“Act Out of Love, Not Fear”

Fear is what leads to so many negative things in life. Miller points out that love allows us to open ourselves, while fear is a closing of the heart. The next time something bad happens, take a moment before you react and evaluate – which emotion does your reaction spring from? If it is fear, re-evaluate. Your life will be the better for it.

You can read Dr. Miller’s full piece (which is full of thoughtful advice) over on The Huffington Post.

Image Credit: Cornelia Kopp