When we strongly connect the debate that is going on in our mind to reality and when we identify with our thoughts rather than observe them, we may suffer. To minimize suffering we should try to look at the debate that is going on in our mind as an observer from the outer, understanding that the debate is not reality. Not an easy task…
Suffering is a sort of mind-discomfort that comes as a result of physical or mental signals to the mind. It is actually all in the mind.
There are two types of suffering
- sensual, physical pain that leads to suffering
In life, it is difficult to avoid pain. Many times, pain leads to suffering but the intensity of the suffering depends on our tolerance to pain. Having the ability to observe or even embrace pain, may reduce suffering.
- thoughts, mental distress that leads to suffering
Mental suffering comes from thinking about desires, fears, anxieties regrets and the likes. The intensity of the suffering depends on our attitude to mental distress. Having the ability to observe or even embrace mental distress may reduce the suffering.
Desires are things that we strongly feel that we need or would like to achieve, in the future.
Fears are situations that we understand and feel we don’t want to get into, in the future.
Anxieties are situations that we don’t understand and feel we don’t want to get into, in the future.
Regrets are actions that we feel we shouldn’t have taken in the past.
We may suffer from having something or from not having something, from having too much of something or having too little of something. A matter of balance.
Many of us are waiting for someone or for an event that will make a change in our lives and make us happy. Being dependent on events or other people for our happiness will sooner or later lead us to suffering.
At all times, we are potentially a moment away from a disaster, we are all very fragile. Our attitude to disasters determines how much we suffer.
Buddhist approach to suffering
Suffering comes from cravings and desires, from our resistance to impermanence. It is caused by addictions and attachments to things that only bring temporary pleasure.