Suffering is Optional

I have a friend. She had a guy in her life. He did this, that and the other. He caused her pain. She was hell bound on finding out why. Answers were not forthcoming.

She refused to accept this. Pain was allowed to fester. Suffering emerged from its wound. It took a firm foothold. She lost sight of her future. So I asked her a question – what if the answers never come?

There is a Buddhist teaching that says that when you get hurt, say, by an arrow, that is pain. The arrow hitting your arm causes pain. There is, however, a second arrow. Your reaction. Your reaction to the arrow and consequently to the pain. The getting angry. The planning revenge. That goes beyond pain. That is suffering.

Sakyong Mipham in The Myth of Permanence says “We suffer because we are projecting the myth of permanence upon a situation that is actually conditioned, selfless, and constantly changing.”

Most of us have it engraved in our minds that there should always be an answer. An explanation for every hurt. There isn’t. This should not cause you to worry for nothing is permanent.

Pain in inevitable. Suffering is a choice. A choice mistakenly worn like a badge of honor. Suffering does not grant legitimacy. Suffering prevents you from moving on. From growing. From learning. From healing. From winning.

Pain can sure take you to hell but suffering is what keeps you there. Suffering allows for a repeat performance of what caused the original pain. The creation of a vicious circle.

Pain is inevitable. Pain is simply a reaction. Suffering, on the other hand, is completely up to you.

“Renew, release, let go. Yesterday’s gone. There’s nothing you can do to bring it back. You can’t “should’ve” done something. You can only DO something. Renew yourself. Release that attachment. Today is a new day!” – Steve Maraboli

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