Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Pain And Suffering

Pain and suffering are not the same thing.  If you injure your body in an accident, you feel pain.  There is nothing you can do to avoid the physical pain until you medicate yourself or receive other appropriate treatment.  Suffering, however, is mostly a mental thing.  In many cases our fears, worries, anxieties, and stresses are self-created in our mind.  As I once heard someone say, “It’s not what happens to you, it’s how you react to it”.  Suffering can also be caused by longing for things or clinging to things.  Some people always want what they don’t have.  Other people worry about losing what they have.  Neither are free.  This is what I mean when I say that suffering is optional.  If we let our mind run wild it will take us to all kinds of scary places.  Our emotions can also get the best of us.  Sometimes when I feel upset I breathe for a moment and say to myself, “You are having an emotional reaction.  What is the reality of the moment”?  More often than not true reality is not nearly as frightening as the perceived reality we create in our minds.  The purpose of the Eightfold Path to Enlightenment is not to fast forward us to an enlightened state of Zen bliss.  Its purpose is to teach us to live in such a way as to minimize or eliminate our suffering.  As the Dalai Lama teaches, “All human beings want to be happy and have as little suffering in their lives as possible”.  I doubt if anyone who reads this would disagree.  A happy life, relatively free of suffering, is possible for everyone.  It has little to do with how much money or stuff you have.  Some of the unhappiest people in the world have lots of money and material things.  Try living for an entire day with a calm mind.  Control your mind and emotions and you will never be upset or unhappy.  I haven’t mastered this yet but I am getting better at it.         

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