दुःख alias Suffering

What It Means to Suffer and why is it important…..

Suffering is everywhere. This is one of the most difficult truths of existence.
दुःख, which is sometimes translated as “anguish” or as “unsatisfactoriness” or even “stress.”
Suffering is falling in love and then becoming complacent….. Suffering is not being able to connect with our children……. It’s our anxiety about what will happen of a situation tomorrow……. Suffering is knowing your barsaati will leak in the next rains……. It’s finally buying that shiny new smartphone after a wait of over 8 months, then seeing an advertisement for an even newer device with a better operating system…… Hoping you will get rid of your grumpy boss who has just joined…….. Thinking that life is moving by too fast or too slow……… Not getting what you want, getting what you don’t want, or getting what you want but fearing you will lose it—all of this is suffering………. Sickness is suffering, old age is suffering and so is dying.
दुःख arises from ignorance, from not understanding that everything is impermanent, unreliable, and uncontrolable—and wanting it to be otherwise. We want our possessions, our relationships, and even our identities as unchanging, but we can’t. Everything is constantly transforming and slipping right through our fingers.
We think we need the conditions of our lives to reliably give us what we want. We want to construct an ideal future or nostalgically relive a perfect past. And we believe this will make us happy. But we all can see that even those people who realize extraordinary conditions in life still suffer. Even if we are rich, beautiful, smart, in perfect health, and blessed with wonderful families and friendships, in time these will break down, be destroyed, and change…or we will simply lose interest. On some level, we know this is the case, yet we can’t seem to stop grasping for those “perfect” conditions.
Let’s say you get fired from your job. That is undoubtedly is very stressful. But the suffering is exaggerated if you refuse to accept the current reality. Under such conditions, we tend to say things to ourselves like, “This isn’t fair. This can’t be true. This isn’t the way it should be,” which only causes us to suffer more. Point here is that acceptance doesn’t require agreement. We may still want to work to change our life circumstances. But we can’t make a change until we first accept the truth of what is right in front of you, eyes wide open.
Suffering is about perception and interpretation. It is our mental and emotional relationship to what is first perceived as an unpleasant or undesirable experience. Our stories and beliefs about what is happening or did happen shape our interpretation of it. When things don’t go according to plan, we believe that we are helpless victims or that we “got what they deserved.” This leads to resignation and apathy. When we get caught in anxiety and worry about what might happen in the future, it can turn into a web of fear that is not easily quarantined .

What is an alternative way to handle life’s inevitable दुःख?

The first step is to realize that pain and suffering actually are two intimately related yet different rxperiences “Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.” That sums it up.
If you are alive, you will experience pain. Everyone has a different pain threshold, and yet we all experience it throughout our lives. Physical pain is the nervous system’s internal alarm, your body reacting to a damaging stimulus. It creates an unpleasant sensory experience, such as hunger, exhaustion, an upset tummy, a headache, or the joint aches. Pain can be emotional, such as the crush of heartbreak or the sadness of loss.
So there is pain, from which there is no escaping. And then there is suffering, which we can do something about. Suffering generally occurs as a chain reaction: stimulus-thought-reaction. Many times, we have no control over the stimulus/reason that causes us pain. But we can shift our relationship to the thoughts about and emotional reactions to the pain, which frequently intensify our suffering.
Opening to pain in the present moment, may improve the situation, maybe not, but we can certainly notice how our attitudes toward the experience are impacting what is happening. My reaction to pain, even to the thought of pain, changes everything. It increases or decreases my suffering.
If we attempt to push away our pain, whether it is physical or emotional, we always find ourselves suffering even more. When we open to suffering, being curious into it instead of trying to deny it, we see how we might make use of it in our lives.
Pain + Resistence = Suffering
The willingness to be with our suffering gives rise to an inner resourcefulness that we can carry forward into all areas of our lives. Whatever we give space to can move. Our feelings of discomfort or anxiety, frustration or anger are free to open, unfold, and reveal their true causes. While allowing our pain to arise, we discover a point of stillness, even peacefulness—right in the middle of the suffering.
Turning towards our suffering is an important part of welcoming everything and pushing away nothing. This invitation means that no part of ourselves or our experience can be left out: not the joy and wonder, nor the pain and anguish. All are woven throughout the very fabric of our lives. When we embrace that truth, we step more fully into life.
Accept your pain and let the suffering leave you.

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Anjana is the founder of inAura. The drive of helping others achieve harmony, came to her after she battled her way through and healed herself of blood cancer.

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