House Tearmainn

Archive for November, 2011

Suffering

by on Nov.22, 2011, under Uncategorized

A lot of folks i know in the M/s world have some Buddhist flavor of spirituality. A brief synopsis of my understanding of the Buddhist view of suffering boils down to something like this: suffering is the result of wanting what you cannot have (your neighbor’s ass, your neighbor’s wife, a million dollars, the elixer of immortality . . .) If you can accept that all of these pleasures of life are temporary, and thus detach yourself from your desire for them, you will avoid suffering.

This may go to show how far i am from attaining enlightenment, or maybe it has more to do with my masochistic tendencies, but that idea of suffering, for me, does not resonate. It does not resonate at all.

My mindset for many years has been more along the lines of no pain, no gain. How do babies learn to roll over? They get uncomfortable or bored. They want a change of position. They want a toy. Sometimes they cry. They want somebody to come along and flip them over. If you leave them on their bellies, they’ll push themselves up. They’ll strive. They’ll strain. And then–whoop! They’re on their backs.

For me, if something is worth attaining, it is worth suffering for. And if it doesn’t cause suffering in the attainment, it makes me question whether it was worth attaining in the first place. That is down near the deep foundations of my slavery. To me, the beauty in life is in the struggle, from the dandelion forcing its way through the crack in the sidewalk, to the polar bear hunting over miles of ice to feed its young. Without the struggle, there’s no meaning, no fulfilment. It’s like a baseball game with one team up by how-ever-many runs–you might as well just stop. What’s the point? It’s just too easy. Nobody’s learning anything.

I agree with the Buddhist folks that sweating the small stuff isn’t worth it, but whose definition of small stuff? Designer labels or fancy gadget may not interest me, but who am i to judge those folks who do think those kinds of things are worth striving for? (Well, ok, those kinds of goods may have impacts on the environment or global economy in ways that do eventually effect me, so maybe i do have some right to an opinion. Ignoring that, though, my point stands.)

This is why, when Master tried to teach me how to meditate, i imploded. A practice that is supposed to help you achieve a state that cannot be reached through the struggle? To me, to stop suffering is to stop fully participating in life.

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