Suffering Without Suffering

There is suffering and there is suffering. There are all sorts of situations where we suffer. We suffer when we’re tired, cold, bored, angry hot, sad, scared, hurt, hungry, lonely, in pain, stressed, annoyed or just basically discontented. There are hundreds of ways to suffer. It is possible to experience these feelings without actually suffering. We suffer when we resist these feelings. We suffer when we give in to these feelings. We suffer when we get carried away with these feelings. To stop suffering through suffering, pay attention to your suffering and pay attention to suffering from your suffering.

People learn to live with suffering. If you look at a professional football player you may wonder what kind of fool would go out on that field knowing that they will be pummeled by 300 pound men trained in inflicting pain. The players learn to suffer without suffering. They become adept at dealing with physical pain. As you notice your various ways of suffering, you will be able to experience the suffering without suffering so much.

A good way to notice suffering is in the shower.  As the water temperature changes you begin to suffer. You quickly adjust the temperature. That little tiny suffering you endure before you adjust the temperature gives you an opportunity to observe your suffering. If you experience this, just notice your suffering, then adjust the temperature. If you have run out of hot water, notice how your suffering from cold turns into suffering from anger at the person who showered before you.

When you practice noticing your suffering you see how you lean into or pull away from your discomfort. You notice that you are able to manage the feeling. You notice how the feeling feels. When you get good at observing your suffering, you will find yourself suffering without suffering. When you can do that, you’ll also notice yourself not suffering at all. You’ll notice yourself feeling good.


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