We all suffer.
We all, sooner or later, find suffering, large or small, in our lives
And, for most of us, the impulse when we find suffering is to get away from it, to push it out, to get rid of it.
Sometimes we try to do this by drinking, smoking, watching lots of TV, playing games on the computer, flirting, traveling, working hard… or in thousands of other ways that, in the short run, give the impression that the suffering does go away.
But of course we all know that it does not work (and, if we don’t know, sooner or later we will learn).
Escaping, getting away from suffering only produces more suffering, sooner or later.
What we need to do is begin to understand the mechanism of suffering. The most important part of this mechanism is that suffering is a resistance to ‘what is’.
It is this resistance that actually creates suffering, not what is happening. ‘What is’ may create pain or discomfort, but neither of them equals suffering, unless we resist it.
Pain and discomfort are natural phenomena and they bring useful information; we may not like them, but they are absolutely necessary for survival. But suffering is a creation of our mind, a resistance to ‘what is’.
And because we don’t want to experience suffering, as a way to avoid it we go to the bottle or the sweet or the entertainment or whatever our favorite escape happens to be.
What we need to do, what we can learn to do is to recognize the futility of these ‘escapes’, see clearly their hollowness and not to go for them. Instead, we need to allow the suffering to be.
Then, in the space that is created, we look directly ‘into the eyes’ of the resistance, which means the clear and profound recognition that ‘what is’ cannot not be; that what appears in the moment – not 5 seconds from now, not tomorrow, not next week, but exactly what is appearing now – is set in stone.
And then, with this realization, we accept, embrace and completely welcome whatever it is that is happening, we totally allow ‘what is’. And we embrace it so much (based on our deep understanding that ‘what is’ cannot not be) that even if that which we dislike will remain forever, we will be OK with it.
This is the test.
Why a test?
Because many times we say to ourselves that we are accepting something when, in reality, the only reason why we are trying to accept it is because we hope that by accepting it, it will go away. Which of course means we are not accepting it at all!
This will never work.
Truly accepting something means that even if whatever it is I am trying to accept will remain forever, I will be OK with it.
This complete acceptance is fundamental because, as long as there is any resistance to whatever is happening, suffering is inevitable.
But we can ask ourselves (and this takes some deep exploration): where is suffering when there is no resistance AT ALL to ‘what is’?