Suffering as a Vehicle
When there is physical pain, there is also a kind of mental irritation connected with it. And this mental irritation, this “pain,” is something we build up unnecessarily with the hope of getting rid of the physical pain. In fact, it produces even more pain. We feel that we are shut in, that we are helpless, that we have to contact the doctor, that we have to have medicine, that we have to do something about it. So there is a continual searching, a running after something, rather than first just examining, questioning, seeing it. “Where did this pain come from?” “What actually is it?”
Usually, everything is done with speed, without checking into it, without seeing properly. When a person is able to see with faith in oneself, rather than asking for help all the time, and one realizes that there is nobody to help, perhaps then one might do something to help oneself. Perhaps after a certain incident, you find your whole pattern of life changed: through an accident, a severe illness, or going through a war, you realize that there is something profound happening. Until one really develops that kind of self confidence and understanding of the positive element in oneself and ones experience, it is very difficult to see the true pattern of relative truth, which also contains the absolute.
Then suffering, physical suffering in this case, becomes merely a physical sensation or feeling. Mental pain consists of this helpless attitude, or one might say, this fascination towards the pain, the problem, the trouble. So when one is not fascinated, and no longer thinks of the pain as something separate from oneself, then one finds something familiar in it, something to be learned from it. In this way, suffering acts as a vehicle, and the problem does not belong to the devil. One realizes that there is a kind of positive element in it.
WITH MEREDITH MONKJoin us for a day of online group practice on Saturday, June 19, 9:30 am – 5:00 pm Eastern. The day will include meditation, a talk and song offering by Meredith Monk, and an ikebana demonstration with Michele Laporte.
Contemplating and Cultivating Bodhichitta: Part II, Sending & Takingby Barry Boyce
This class—which is open to anyone, regardless of whether you’ve taken the previous class—is the second in a three-part […]