Great discussion and questions!
What is the goal of practice? Peace? Enlightenment? More productivity? To be a “good” person? The yoga sutras and buddhist texts would say in various ways, that it is to know and come from our true nature. And to get there, we have to be able to allow for everything without attachment or aversion. I wonder what other texts might say?
How is it balanced? Another great question. There is that great poem by Thich Nath Hahn - [Please call me By My True Name.] That I think speaks into this the best. It’s all at the same time.
AND, for me, learning to balance in the time/space continuum means learning the art of titrating from an SE perspective.
I think if we embrace, meaning we actually have empathy and compassion ( which includes acting) for the suffering, instead of the intellectualizing “it’s all good, it’s all karma” then I don’t think we can actually spiritually bypass. To me, the bypassing comes when we are not willing to feel it or turn towards it in a real way.
I think Pema Chodren, Shaon Salzberg and others have a lot of good insight on this. Specifically, thinking of Pema’s Tonglen practice or Sharon’s Metta & Loving Kindness practices. I remember one lecture, I think Mirabai Bush talked about trying to do a loving kindness practice toward someone that was difficult for her. And the instruction she got was “in as much as you can”. Sometimes we have to “pray” to be willing to be willing to turn towards suffering in some ways.
I think it is paradox. We embrace it - meaning we see it, acknowledge it, allow it, move toward it, surround it with empathy and compassion (without drowning in it). AND, at the same time, recognizing we are all in this together - no them, only us - so we work to end suffering without attachment to suffering actually ending. That’s how Ram Dass wrote about it in “How can I help?”
And, after saying all of that, when it comes to personal and collective trauma, we have to do the real physiological work, and to remove ourselves from the trauma stimulus as much as we can so we can do that work. (and when it comes to collective and historical trauma, that gets tricky.)
Each individual has to find their route through. But as we have read from the buddhists 1) life is suffering (we all experience it) 2) there are causes of that suffering 3) suffering can end 4) there are things we can do to end that suffering.
I’d love to hear what others think and thanks for the great discussion!