Pain is Inevitable, Suffering is Optional


Every living being has to go through the pains and the pleasures of life. No one has ever lived a life without pain. Pain is complementary to pleasure. In our everlasting pursuit of pleasure, pain is inevitable. But like pleasure is fleeting, pain is also momentary. If pleasure and pain are momentary then why we suffer? Suffering is the result of our never ending pursuit to get pleasure. Suffering arises from grasping to pleasure and yearning for pleasure. Grasping and yearning are emotional states, and since emotional state can be changed by conscious effort, suffering is optional. Even though, due to the physical ailment, the body may be in pain, but the mind can be free of suffering.

Between the peaks of pleasure and the hollows of pain there is a vast plains of tranquility. The moments in life when one is not in pain, not in pleasure and not yearning for pleasure are the moments of tranquility and bliss. Though such moments seem few, they are only limited by our urge for pleasure. A moment might seem short-lived, but, by conscious effort of living in the present and not yearning for pleasure one can expanded the moment into the eternity. Plan for the future, but don’t live in the future. Think about the past, don’t suffer because of it. Experience the present!

We live in dreams and our lives are full of partial experiences. Eating, we start comparing the taste we are experiencing to the taste we have experienced in the past. Talking, our mind wanders to the emotions on the face of the listener. When listening the mind wanders into inferences and conclusions of what is being said. When seeing, mind wanders to judge what is being seen. When on vacation we think about work. When at work we think about vacation. When with family we think about friends. When with friends we thinks about family. Our mind wanders from the topic of the present to the world of dreams, leaving the experience incomplete. If an experience is incomplete the desire to complete it would naturally arise resulting in an never ending chase to fulfill our desires.

Remember the beautiful sunrise you saw last summer or the beautiful sunset last autumn. Remember the chirping of the birds early morning or the sound of waves on silent beach. As you remember these moments remember the tranquility and bliss you experienced. Those were the moments you were in the present. Those were the moments when you lived without a past and without a future. Those were the moments you had full experiences. Those were the moments we lived without suffering.