Archive for July 26th, 2010

As I have been reading Savor and a few other Buddhist texts, the topic of suffering comes up again and again. The First Noble Truth in Buddhism is that life is suffering and the intention of buddhism is to present a way to alleviate that suffering. I have spent a lot of time thinking about my own suffering, its impacts on my life, the sources of my suffering and the ways that I react to that suffering. As I have done this, I am becoming more and more aware of its presence in my life. In addition, I’ve begun to notice the presence of suffering in the lives of others as well.

Before I began to practice mindfulness, I would notice obvious signs of suffering when I would drive pass a homeless person on the side of the road or when I would see someone with a physical or mental disability or see someone who was obviously upset or in pain. Now, I am finding that I am becoming aware of more subtle forms of suffering in people’s lives. When I speak to someone or interact with them I am aware of the words that they use to describe things or the way that they carry themselves and I see how suffering has shaped it. This awareness has begun to breed compassion in my heart for others that was not there before. As I am learning to treat myself with more compassion and understanding it is extending outwards, beyond myself, to those I interact with on a regular basis. I was aware that was a goal of mindfulness practice but I did not realize that it would happen as easily and organically as it has. I guess this means that I have one more thing to be happy about and to celebrate.

In what ways do you suffer? When you suffer, how do you react to it? How does your reaction make you feel? Does it really end the suffering or does it drown it in temporary pleasure only to have it return in greater strength?

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