Tuesday, November 13, 2007

An observation about suffering

It is so common for people to do everything in their power to avoid pain. And, sadly, it's so unskillful to do so. Here's something Thomas Merton said about that:
The truth that many people never understand, until it is too late, is that the more you try to avoid suffering the more you suffer because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you in proportion to your fear of being hurt.
We actually cannot avoid suffering by trying to control our circumstances or other people. We can, however, very quickly alleviate our suffering by letting go of our attachment to things being other than they are. In that case, the opposite of what Merton observes takes place. Fewer and fewer things end up bothering us. It's really quite remarkable how this works!

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