Suffering is an inevitable process. The mere fact that you are born means that you shall experience suffering. Before you jump to conclusions about this being a Debbie Downer post, just hear me out a bit. The Four Noble Truths teach us that suffering exists; it exists because of cravings and desires; there is a way out of this suffering, and that way is the Noble Eightfold Path. Now that you have the basics, let’s talk about some ways to reduce your suffering without vowing to be a Buddhist.
When you have an unpleasant experience. It’s just that. Unpleasant. This unpleasant experience can take one shot at you, or it can torment and plague you for infinite moments. This mode of thinking ruins any possibility of pleasant and neutral moments to enter your life. Labeling your experiences in this way takes the craving out of desiring more or less out of your life. You’re content with what is happening and not attaching value to it. Pretty simple right?
I can recall watching Dan Harris on the Minimalism documentary. Dan discussed how ruminating over missing your flight is not productive to the situation that you’re involved in. When you’ve missed your flight there is no doubt you’ll experience an unpleasant feeling. You’ll undoubtedly follow the thoughts of what that means to you in that present moment. You’ll be late for this meeting, you have to find a new flight, somebody will be upset with you. etc. etc. Having that experience once makes perfect sense. Those are natural feelings. But to keep re-living that experience when there is nothing that you can do about has no logic at all. If you keep complaining about missing your flight or it being late you’re just traumatizing yourself over and over again. So an unpleasant moment that may have only been a speed bump in your life has now become a mountain. While you’re complaining and stewing, others are enjoying this time to catch up on their favorite blogs and podcasts. They’ve taken an unfortunate event and are utilizing the time productively. So instead of taking a jab to the body, you’ve increased the impact of this blow and it’s taking you down slowly but surely.
To continue to look at problems in your life this way creates inessential stress on yourself. We already have issues. That’s inevitable. Let’s not make life harder than what it already is by wanting and craving for something to change. Actions lead to change. Sure, create a vision for yourself. Just don’t get caught up in the hype of comparison and not being happy with who you are and what you have. Understand while you’re wanting and desiring to be in someone else’s shoes, they are doing the exact same thing. So put an end to that suffering. Stop re-living nightmares. Enjoy life at this moment. Whether you are on the top of the roller coaster or at the bottom. Take in the full encounter because one day this story will be yours to tell, and it will catapult you into the person you’ve always wanted to become. I hope these words create a better understanding of how to deal with difficult situations that arise in your life. Stay blessed and encouraged on your journey. Metta. 🖤