Whether you fully embrace the the teachings of Buddhism or simply have a desire to learn more balance in your life we have three powerful elements of Buddhist philosophy, “The Noble Truths,” to consider. Today lets look at Dukkha.
Dukkha: Life is painful and causes suffering.
Many people might say that Buddhism is pessimistic or negative. This is a common result of learning that one of the Noble Truths is translated as “Life is suffering.” But there’s more to this statement. It’s not just telling us, “Life is tough, so deal with it.”
So what is it telling us?
We actually can create more suffering in our lives by trying to avoid or suppress difficult emotions. Yes, our lives are inevitably punctuated with various unpleasant feelings: loss, sadness, fatigue, boredom, anxiety appear and reappear during our lives.
But attaching or clinging to particular expectations, material items, and states of being is often a cause for acute frustration, disappointment, and other forms of pain. So rather than fear our suffering or seek an ultimate resolution to it (and become frustrated by our lack of finding one), we can learn simply to recognize our suffering.
How we can use this belief every day: Try not to buy into the idea that you’re broken. Expect that death, aging, sickness, suffering, and loss are part of life. Practice acceptance in the face of strife. Stop attaching to the idea that life should be easy and pain free, both emotionally and physically. This is a misconception made popular by the fashion, beauty, and pharmaceutical industries.
Illness, heartbreak, loss, disappointment, and frustration are parts of life that can be mitigated by practicing “non-attachment.” Try to embrace imperfection, to let go of this belief that life should be a certain way. Open your heart to uncertainty, and your mind opens to the task of simple acceptance.
Peace and Love, Jim