Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The Response to Suffering

How often it is that our response to our own suffering is to grasp at the very things which bring about our suffering!

We seem to have a wrong 'gameplan' - one which says that having or grasping this or that experience will make things 'right', and not having or pushing away something will lessen what is unsatisfactory. So when times get tough, or we feel disatisfied, we seem to want to grasp onto these ephemeral experiences, and push and pull at them to attain what we seek.

Yet what we seek surely comes from letting go of this gameplan, this uncontrolled desire to make the world right via accepting and rejecting experiences, and seeking the perfect situation.

When the going gets tough, we often retreat into trying to beat Samsara at its own game, only to find that the wheel goes round, and actually spins faster. When the pressure is on, we may choose to not meditate, but to watch TV or whatever turns you on, seeking relief in that which cannot bring it.

How interesting that this 'vicious circle' is a tendency in something which is described as an endless circle. It's as if things compound themselves - we suffer, so we grasp ever stronger at that which binds us to our suffering. And so the wheel goes round, and we are ever more bound to the wheel, tighter and stronger.

Sometimes it takes an act of courage to not grasp at the samsaric straws, and have faith in the methods of the Buddhas, however seductive the straws seem.

Then the more we reject the attempted quick fix, the straw, the more we see that the true path works, the more confidence we gain in the teachings and the more faith we experience for this path.

And this too builds up, a 'non-vicious' circle, empowering our actions and thoughts. A pressure builds up which pushes us onwards, even when we falter, a momentum which guides and supports us.

Step off one wheel, and step onto the conveyor belt!


Anonymous said...

This is exactly what's been on my mind lately. My morning lojong slogan reminded me of it, and now you.

If only breaking through the cycle and stopping seeing samsara as enticing were as easy as understanding this intellectually.

the girl

Al said...

I believe this is what they mean by the idea of "Refraining".
Pause, see it, consciously obstain.

tamingthemind said...

Al, I think you are correct. The pause allows you to see that you are going down the same old samsara path again.

But, that is the tough part. Pausing.

Ellisse said... happy to find a little buddha at blogger. I wish we can blog each other in the future. I feel much suffering in samsara..and still striving with the help of buddhism. Amida Butsu.

"James" said...

What a great post!! Very insightful. Thank-you.

Anonymous said...

Being observer in one's life is very difficult. It takes a lot of insight to appreciate every suffering or hardship as blessing. After all they teach and give us a chance to change. More dangerous are our habits and routines that we are not even aware of.

With my experience it even seems to be easier to handle suffering than handle success. One can get used to 'suffering' or hardship and take it as a lesson and opportunity. But to behave similarly in situations / times when things go the other way - so smoothly and succesfully. Being humble...always.