Life is full of suffering
Suffering comes from the desire to be something other
than what we are
or be a different place
than where we are
Suffering stops when we stop fighting back
and comes in coherence with suchness
The medicine is the Eightfold Path
Humans are designed to be happy. Yet, most of us ecperience periods of unhappiness, despair, hopelessness, pain and confusion.
Some of us console ourselves with the depressing fact that it is enough just to get through the day.
Many of us are not even aware of what happiness really is. Is it the big, stormy love affair? Is it to spill over in a rush of happiness when we win the lottery? Should we find the fortune in drugs? Alcohol? Luck? Consumption? The looks? Career and success? Being popular? Famous?
Common to most of the forms of ordinary happiness we put in lots and lots of effort in achieving is, that they come into our lives for a while and disappears again shortly after. We are left empty-handed in a black hole and feel cheated. Cheated of luck.
“Life is hard and then you die” as is often read in public toiletwalls written out of public intuitive wisdom.
People who lived 2,500 years ago, was reeling under the same considerations. At that time there lived a man who set out to find out what the hell was going on. Today we call him Buddha.
He found that we almost all live in a state of more or less chronic suffering.
If we are happy or wealthy, we are always afraid of losing it again. Or afraid that others are more happy or more wealthy than us. When we achieve something, then we often have to say goodbye to it again. We can also get sick. Disease is the cause of much sorrow and suffering. Finally, we die one day. All of us. For most of us, death is not something we look forward to. We fear death. We dread life.
Buddha set out to investigate the causes of all this excessive sadness, distress and anxiety.
His diagnosis was that the cause of suffering lies in our ignorance of who we are.
We have lost contact with our own nature. We have no idea how to live in the body-mind-spirit system’s intelligence field. Out of this ignorance arises modes of:
• Hatered: if only the others behaved differently, I would even be happy. I hate them! If only my body was different, then I would be happy. I hate my body! Etc..
• Desire and greed: yes yes, everything disappears, but if I have enough of it all, I will not be completely empty-handed. I must have more of the things that makes me happy. And if I have more than the others, I shall surely be happy at the expense of others.
• Ego: when we do not know who we are, we feel completely cut off from everything else. Isolated in a black box filled with discouraged expectations of ourselves and others. We become numb to the sense of the consequences of our thoughts, feelings and actions. It’s me or them. The ego is a vigorous paranoiasystem to ensure that we survive yet another tiresome day on earth.
• Jealousy: yet there is a lot of people who are prettier, richer, more successful than I am. They have fun while I have nothing. Jealousy is a powerful feeling. And it can at worst be deadly for ourselves and our surroundings.
• Fear of death: because we cling to the body and our limited perceptions of reality and think that it is all we have. Our knowledge that the body must some day die give rise to anxiety that reaches deep into our the roots of our heart.
Buddha developed a cure for the disease we can name lack of happiness or suffering.
Today we call the cure of The Eightfold Path. By using the cure and take daily doses of this medicine we inevitably experience a slow, deep and steady change in our perception of life, our thoughts, our feelings, our relationship to the earth’s ecosystem, our relationships with other people – and we begin to enjoy our innate ability to meditate.
The forecast is that we become who we really are. We become the best version of ourselves for the benefit of people and nature. We are rediscovering what it means to be happy.
I’ll write more about The Eightfold Path later.