I attended a Dharma talk and discussion afterwards. I had an epiphany of sorts but couldn’t quite put my thoughts to words. I’m hoping to do that today.
If you are looking to understand your current suffering, find the cause and cure for it- as well as tackle what could possibly be your future suffering, why not look back at your life? Maybe what has cause your current suffering comes from your past. So start with your past suffering!
Go back, go way back, can you recall the first time you felt “suffering”? Many will understand when I say suffering, I mean something that hurts you: Greed, Anger, Ignorance, Pain, Fear, Jealousy, Panic, Anxiety.. to name a few. What is your earliest memory? Write it down! Now systematically go through your life and remember other suffering you experienced.
First thing you need to remember, you are here today despite the suffering that was experienced. You survived your childhood! You lived to tell the tale! The next thing I would do is determine if these issues still effect you today. If it still has an effect on your life today, then maybe you need to evaluate these situations and work at letting those situations go!
This may sound obvious, if you still have things that make you suffer that began in your past, you will still suffer from them in the future unless you deal with it now and let it go. It sounds simple but as I mentioned in a previous blog post, sometimes you have suffered so long that you hold onto suffering almost like a default reaction. You have been doing it so long that the negative is what makes you feel normal!
You may remember being bullied as a child, suffered from a violent situation, maybe a car accident. Maybe someone in your family had an addiction, maybe your home life wasn’t great, maybe a parent or relative would put you down, make you feel stupid? Maybe later in life someone took advantage of you, you made some mistakes, maybe you weren’t outgoing because you were shy. Maybe you were rejected by a member of the opposite sex (or same?), maybe you lost your confidence? Maybe life brought Anxiety and Stress? Maybe later in life between a house, car, marriage and baby, you found new sufferings such as being under pressure to pay the bills, maybe your boss wanted you to work 80 hours a week or your boss was horrible to you. Maybe you had a medical problem or injury that still effects you today? I’m trying to add as many elements as I can but if you look back, you can personalize your list of sufferings.
I will take an example from above. Let’s say your parents were strict, always put you down, you had a rough upbringing. It made you angry! So then your first job, you had a horrible boss, then the person you dated cheated on you. Maybe you had been supporting them all along and now.. your angry! And no one is going to ever take advantage of you again, right?
So you carry that anger through your life. It is in the forefront of your mind, possibly you seethe about it. The next person you meet gets the brunt of your anger and you first reaction to this new person is mistrust. Your work life has never been good, you always complain about your co-workers… and so on and so forth. Why are you living like this? Yes, someone did you wrong, you never want it to happen again, it’s great to watch out for yourself but why are you still holding onto the anger? You’re family may still be there, your old boss may be long gone and your ex- is long gone! They are not feeling your “anger”, you are feeling your own anger! You are making yourself miserable. It’s okay to not want to get kicked in the butt again but you don’t have to be angry to accomplish this, you can be wise and be happy.
Leave all of what made you suffer, leave it in the past. Today is a new day! There are many people who blame their parents for not paving the perfect path for them. Heck, I came from a big family and our clothes were sometimes hand-me-downs. Obviously my parents could little afford a family vacation so we made the most of it. Sure I had my share of “I wish my parents could have…” but life is what it is now. I’m a big boy and need to fend for myself. The “suffering” you blame on others needs to go! You are causing your own suffering. So, how about you start today.
It is not a one day process. Become aware of what makes you suffer and work at letting go. You will have good days, you will have bad days but don’t get discouraged. Although it wasn’t in the latest Dharma talk, my teacher mentioned something that is a good mantra to follow:
“Develop The Self Your Wish To Be”
So in last nights class we discussed Moral Discipline, Concentration and Wisdom. Which I believe goes hand in hand with Threefold Training. I don’t have all my notes but some of the items I can remember off the top of my head is that you want to train on what is good and wholesome. Your mind needs to know it’s objective. You can still not want people to walk all over you but you do not need to be unhappy and distrusting while you are at it. You are wise, so if you detect your next love interest is attempting to walk all over you, smile and send that person packing! Be happy that you did not have to suffer about it. Yes, it may stink that love is alluding you but your own happiness should come first.
In conclusion, I think looking back at your past suffering, working at them and attempting to resolve them is helpful in avoiding these sufferings in the future! I hope I explained the concept well, it is sometimes hard to put the wisdom in ones mind into words. Even if one person gets the concept, and it helps them, I would be happy. and of course I have made a bunch of edits to this so if anything doesn’t make sense, I will edit it later 🙂