Suffering Opinions

One immaterial thing that causes a lot of suffering is a negative opinion. An opinion is just a thought. It is a passing judgement, passing judgement. This is good, that is bad. I like this, I don’t like that. I like him, I don’t like her. I am stupid, you are smart, and on and on. These opinions would be harmless enough, if they didn’t cause so much suffering.

Each negative opinion that you entertain is a little bit of suffering. When your opinions are about you they can pile up and cause a lot of suffering. If your negative opinions are about other people, then they are a product of your suffering and they could cause additional suffering in others. If others have a negative opinion about you, then that opinion comes from their suffering and could add to your suffering. You could suffer even if its your opinion that somebody else has a negative opinion of you. All those little bits of suffering over unsubstantiated opinions can add up to substantial suffering.

When you keep track of your opinions and your suffering, you give yourself the opportunity to limit both. When you notice negative opinions, you can question their validity. They are just thoughts. How do you measure good and bad, beautiful and ugly, smart and dumb, success and failure? How could you possibly know what informs another person’s opinion? If it is a negative opinion, it is likely the result of suffering. Where there is no suffering, people gush positive opinions.

If you notice a negative opinion that upon closer inspection still appears to be valid, then you can limit the suffering by feeling compassion. Where there is suffering there is always an opportunity for compassion.

When you practice watching opinions and suffering you will find plenty of material for your practice. As you practice compassion, you will find plenty of positive opinions to balance the others. All the passing judgements will pass. You will be left feeling lovely.

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2 comments on “Suffering Opinions

  1. David

    This is where confusion comes for me. You wrote : How do you measure good and bad, beautiful and ugly, smart and dumb, success and failure? How could you possibly know what informs another person’s opinion? If it is a negative opinion, it likely the result of suffering. Where there is no suffering, people gush positive opinions.

    I guess it seems like opinions give one an ‘identity’, a guidance system if you will, I like this specific food, this style of music, I like this singer, I don’t like that one, or that song… Or this person is a psychopath, a murderer, I don’t gush a positive opinion about them nor their actions, nor do I bury it away by simple saying Oh well they are just suffering and inflicting it on other… It seems like without an opinion we become lost in a new age love and light paradigm, where EVERYTHING IS LOVE, when clearly in our world it isn’t. People are suffering and can be horrible, much deeper than just oh well turn your cheek because they are suffering. If a bear is about to attack me I will not just turn my cheek and smile in some new agey love and light scenario, I will fight, run, as my opinion is THIS ISN’T A KOSHER SITUATION! smile.

    Yet I can also see the point of how negative opinions, are coming from our suffering. But it trips me up because when I’m not fond of something, or want to express a neg opinion that I feel it’s as if I’m supposed to love and light everything, and I lose any sense of individuality. EVERYTHING IS LOVE. It’s hard to grasp that.

    What does our true nature feel? Does our true nature have no opinion whatsoever on anything? It has no likes, dislikes? No wants? no desires? It just feels Love. Well then Love has to have a much much more all encompassing meaning than the mere sentimentality one thinks of when the word Love is spoken. It must mean light, awareness, information, physics of light informing, something.

    I come back over and over to this question, so hopefully you can shed some light for me.

    1. Peter

      Thank you for your comment. Love can be viewed as a fundamental force in our life, which is as critical to our survival as food and air, rather than a sentimental affection. My point about opinions is not that we shouldn’t have negative opinions or any opinions, but that we should practice awareness of them and see how we suffer with them. When we judge others or they judge us, those opinions create suffering by their nature. If I think I am bad, I feel bad. If I think you are bad, I feel bad. If I think you are good. I feel good. Peace.

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