The suffering wasn’t as bad as I anticipated
We sat sipping coffee as she inquired into a personal situation that soon had her on the precipice of the abyss – oceans of tears could be seen behind those eyes into the soul. As she articulated the early childhood roots of the pain and suffering – we both just kept breathing, sipping coffee in a crowded cafe and being with what was arising.
In the midst of the exploration into the pain and suffering that was arising, there were bright moments of laughter and happiness. A seemingly paradoxical thing, but not for those who love the truth. One of the most interesting and powerful turnings in life occurs when the truth becomes more important that pain or pleasure.
It’s an amazing thing to share a journey into such depth and also discover a great phrase for a bumper sticker!
It’s natural that human beings don’t want to suffer. Everyone wants to feel good. Not only human beings, but all living beings want not to suffer; they want to feel good, to feel safe. It is obvious, a given. Many people approach our work with the motivation to be free of suffering. This is one of the main attractions of work like this: we hope that it will help us with our suffering, our pain, and our difficulties. Most people come to the work because of suffering and dissatisfaction, because of some or other discontent with their lives.
But what is suffering? Why do we suffer? And why do we sometimes suffer more when we start paying attention to ourselves? We know that suffering is universal, that a large part of everyone’s experience is suffering, pain, discontent, difficulty. And most of the time we don’t know what to do about it. We have no idea why there is so much suffering or what we can do to alleviate it, although we always do want to alleviate it. To really penetrate this issue, to have a thorough understanding that will relieve our suffering is no small thing. – A. H. Almaas – Inexhaustible Mystery