Suffering to me is past tense and in this way, unnecessary.
For me, it’s more thought provoked. It is being in a mental state that has over identified with a previous painful experience.
Take something fairly simple that happens to everyone. I imagine most people are familiar with the sting of being cut off on your morning drive into work. This can go one of two ways:
A sharp beep of your horn (that’ll show them).
Or a long furious beep of your horn, followed by some less than savoury comments about the individual.
The latter decision normally proceeds an enraged, drawn-out dialogue in your head over the subsequent journey:
“Just plain reckless,” “We all have places to be”, “he could have killed me” and the classic “Typical BMW driver” .
These furious thoughts might follow you round all morning, even spilling over in how you talk to people in the office.
In some ways, I think suffering is a decision. You can chose to draw out a painful experience by bringing all your energy and attention back to an event that does not exist in the present moment. Refusing to accept the current reality, you travel back in time and live where life was somewhat in your realm of control. This is suffering.
Not only is this unnecessary, but in some ways it doesn’t even exist.
“But what about when my mother passed away, or when you have a chronic illness like cancer?”
I consider these states of being as pain. People can be in pain for days, months and even years. I guess my distinction between the two, is at some point the real sensory pain yields. Anything beyond trying to change or control the very fabric of what your reality is in this very moment leads to suffering.
In this way, suffering is your doing, your choice.
Pain is always real, but suffering is in the mind.
What do you think about pain and suffering? Are they necessary?
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