Is Suffering Optional?
Updated: Feb 5
Is pain inevitable? Is suffering optional?
Pain appears straightforward and certainly unavoidable, but the notion of suffering causes pause, even contemplation. Pain presents itself in both the physical and emotional realm. Pain is actually impermanent. We normally experience physical pain diminish over time through the body’s innate ability to self-heal. What about emotional pain?
Neuroscience studies have proven that humans become addicted to the chemistry of emotional pain. Our default mind-body responses to pain arise through long-term dependence on emotions of victimhood, fear, anxiety, guilt, self-doubt, frustration, and blame (basically our self-constructed narrative). Neurons become hard-wired in the mind.
Our minds embellish stories creating a reality based upon suffering.
Increasing our self-awareness of day to day suffering can begin to bring an end to all suffering (our own and others). This can be accomplished through basic mindfulness and right action.
What about physical pain from an injury/operation? Or the grief experienced from the loss of a loved one? We have an aversion to unpleasant feelings/sensations and tend to bury trauma deep inside.
It’s our resistance and attachment that creates suffering.
How do we actively choose to end suffering? Firstly, don’t push pain or suffering away - meet it, embrace it, breath into it and accept it. This is not our identity. Secondly, let go of the attachments and aversions to pleasant and unpleasant emotions and sensations. Through recognizing this, we are able to consciously embrace and accept what is arising in each and every moment. Letting go of reactivity and responding from a peaceful place of truth. Ultimately we are creating a life in the present moment.
“Letting go, give us freedom and freedom is the only condition for happiness”
Thich Nhat Hanh
8 Easy tips to let go of suffering:
Choose right action over suffering.
Incorporate meditation, breath awareness or mindfulness practice into your daily life. (Use Infinite Alignment BLOGS for Resources)
Gain awareness of what/where you need to let go. Observe and experience without judgement.
Share your story with those you love and trust. Observe what emotions/feelings are arising and challenge your beliefs. “Is that true?” “Who am I”?
Stop blaming others for your suffering, including yourself!
Focus on the present moment and consciously let go of stories from the past and future.
Know that pain is impermanent.
Use the Infinite Alignment ROSE Meditation - Reveal/Observe/Surrender/Evolve. Daily
Deep Dive for 5 Practice:
When an intense pain/emotion* arises during the day - sit with it for 5 minutes. Allow the full spectrum of feelings/sensations to arise. Invite them, experience them, embrace them. Breathe with awareness. Observe how letting go feels more pleasurable.
*NOTE: Includes pleasant and unpleasant feelings (elation, frustration, anger, anxiety, joy, grief).