How well do you suffer? No, honestly ask yourself how well do you suffer!
I have been alive for close to four decades and yet have no clue as to how to suffer — or more accurately “how to suffer-gracefully?”
Our truest, deepest and most sincere suffering happens in silence. Sometimes in front of others and sometimes when walking, sitting, working alone. You may be suffering as you read this and not a single soul around you has a clue.
Sometimes, you are on the brink of explosion. You are about to explode in anger or burst into tears. Whatever your style of explosion — it is just a sign of a poorly managed emotion. We just never had enough practice on how to handle difficult, uncomfortable situations.
Our suffering is not the only suffering. Our reaction to our suffering is our true punishment. Our resistance, disbelief, anger, non-acceptance of reality is harsher punishment than reality itself. Our minds are just too poorly trained to handle reality or rather too finely trained to resist and react every moment of reality.
Such is the extent of resistance that escape is our default response. We are addicted to escaping reality. Moment by Moment. Travelling in a bus, or waiting in the queue for food or waiting for the flight or even in the washrooms — we are in a constant battle with our reality. We don’t like the pause or silence of these moments. We are so stimulated all the time that any moment free from stimulation is a punishment in and of itself.
Congratulations — we have not only inherited ways to suffer from our previous generation and choose not to learn from their mistakes but also we have been creative enough to invent our own unique and original suffering that is not only man-made and artificial but also cheap, readily available, toxic and not easily degradable.
What is even more worrying is no one cares! No one cares about meaningful ways to deal with suffering. We are drowning in painkillers and barely awake and yet we are pulling our kids into the same eternal quicksand of greed, confusion, self-loathing and guilt.
There is help, sound help available to all of us all the time, but we are too weak and meek to even try. We have been in the swamps for so long that we have lost the sense of how it feels beyond the doom and gloom.
Buddha offered us both the red and the blue pill but we are too lazy, too tired, too dazed to even wake up. We are too committed to the rat race that offers us a one way ticket to feeling tired, empty and confused. Nothing interests us anymore and we look forward to nothing.
I hope you reach this or even lower levels of desperation. The lower the levels of desperation, the higher the intent to give up. Give up what? Give up false pretense, fear, weakness, cowardice, inaction, procrastination. The following words will only make sense if you have hit the lows of all lows!
You no longer feel scared of the lows; you no longer seek the situation to change. You have punished yourself enough to even let go of suffering . You can predict the twists and turns that the plot has to offer. You can nearly laugh at the utter lack of creativity and the similar routes that depression takes to make you feel so worthless and helpless.
You want the suffering to end and yet you couldn’t care less. You want the pain to ease and yet have learned how to ride the waves of pain — only to find some dark humor that you are about to release on your fellow sufferers. And when all seems lost, you actually experience freedom for the first time. That you no longer have anything else to loose and you are truly and completely free.
And then you become a super hero! You are immune to the pain and the fear of pain both. You can observe the dance of your mind, the duality of likes and dislikes and yet you are so deeply rooted in the truth of suffering that the duality doesn’t shake you any longer.
Suffering seems more true than the dance of duality. The suffering and the pain are reminders of the illusion that duality presents. When we wake up to our suffering and whole heartedly embrace it without the resistance, the dance of duality becomes clear and we give up the “Seeking”.
To seek is to lay a foundation for duality, to not seek is to see reality as is! and this is our true purpose. To see reality as is and what better way to see it than to see it through our lens of suffering and once we see the reality, the suffering disappears and so does the dance of the mind.
All that you are left with is a pure experience. An experience of ordinary reality stripped of every ounce of hype or tension and just the moment and the content of the moment in its purest, undiluted form.
And how long does it last? A moment or may be a few moments before the mind pounces back and regains the control and we surrender meekly to its magic and return to our false home of fear, insecurity and restlessness. Oh how we forget our own pathway to freedom and surrender meekly to our own imprisonment. This is our real suffering.
The sacred practice is the practice of reminding ourselves of the truth that suffering can be overcome. That suffering at the heart of it remains to be an illusion of the mind. That suffering has no intent or purpose but exists to control our social, public behavior. That suffering is a weak technique employed by the mind to surrender to it’s illusion.
True practice is reminding the pathway to freedom. Freedom from fear of losing anything. Freedom from ego and Freedom from definitions and structures and norms and molds. Freedom is the gift of practice and the purpose of practice is freedom.
May you suffer enough to wake up. May you wake up enough to fall asleep. May you fall asleep enough to remind yourself to wake up again — which essentially becomes the heart of practice and may this practice become the sacred purpose of our lives!