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.