We all suffer in the journey of life. The rich and the poor suffer. The rich may think that they suffer less, but what are they rich in? If they are well-to-do with lots of money but are short on real compassion, insight, and wisdom, are they truly rich? Most of us were miseducated on what true richness in life entails; then we go through life bereft of the real treasures, empty of real substance.
Animals (other than our own species) also suffer. Many are currently suffering because of the overindulgence of man… too much cement, too much pollution, too much loss of habitat. There is also the competition in nature between the many animals; many have to struggle among themselves for survival. It’s a tough world out there.
When one looks with barriers, through psychological walls of separation (as one has been mistaught to), then one doesn’t do much about the suffering. Ironically, these very walls (i.e., psychological walls) tend to enclose and greatly contribute to one’s own so-called personal suffering.
True intelligence not only helps much suffering to end in the exterior world — via compassion and action (because “others” aren’t so separate any longer) — but also transcends suffering internally (or psychologically, so to speak). When a mind goes beyond crude ways of perceiving, then a totally different dimension may take place (that is — to a large degree — beyond the friction and pain of regular life). A mind that consists of reaction after reaction is bound to suffer; a mind that does not always react like a programmed robot may transcend much suffering.
We all suffer. We suffer physically and psychologically. None of us escape it. Here is a little secret about the true nature of suffering: It is neither just yours nor mine; it is universal. It is our suffering. We all share in it… some more than others. When one of us suffers… we all suffer.
So many of us habitually run from suffering. We use all kinds of legal and illegal drugs to escape from suffering. There are plenty of drug-addicted and alcohol addicted people in the world, many of whom insist that they don’t have a problem and can stop whenever they wish to. Instead of habitually fleeing from suffering, few of us have embraced it without separation, without deep-seated bias and friction. Of course, if suffering is overwhelmingly intense (physically), then one would naturally not care to embrace it or have much of a relationship with it. A wise mind, however, may act — and not merely react — to milder forms of suffering in ways unlike what most people do.
Unlike most minds, the wise mind rarely suffers psychologically. A mind that is wise — due to understanding itself and its contents — is of a vast, immense order. Such order is a flame that incinerates the chaotic disorder that psychological suffering feeds upon; hence, psychological suffering, for such a mind, dissipates. Order doesn’t easily manifest as disorder. A mind that is truly orderly rarely suffers.
Thinking, in human beings, stems from (and involves) problem-solving. Thinking is a tool. Many of us continue to think (and entertain thought) even when thinking is no longer necessary. This strict adherence to thought/thinking is a distorted habit that nourishes all kinds of psychological disorder. Thinking is largely symbolic and representative; merely existing as one symbol after another (in sequence) is much like substituting symbols and signs for the real thing. Such substitution rarely leads to lasting joy and pristine revelry; accepting shadows as reality rarely leads to sunlit bliss. Too many of us were educated wrongly; thinking is only a tool; it need not be the essence of consciousness. If you have made tools as the essence of your consciousness, you are bound to suffer.
A wise mind can exist beyond the tools, beyond the shadows, beyond mere symbols and abstractions. Such a mind is beyond suffering (though it has immense empathy); it never needs to take recreational drugs, alcohol, or take antidepressants. Wisdom begins when psychological suffering ends.
Diminutive wildflowers (1) Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2017
Diminutive wildflowers (2) Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2017