Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. Buddhist proverb
If we have no control over external circumstances, such as people and events, then pain is truly inevitable. Given that we cannot control what life presents, attempting to avoid painful events is wasted energy and creates personal suffering. Pain is what life gifts to us, because in every pain-filled situation, there exists the silver lining of personal growth. By experiencing our own pain or witnessing the pain of others, we learn how to eliminate suffering and move beyond mere survival into thriving.
Our personal growth requires serious attention paid to people, events and things that trigger both pain and pleasure. Because everything changes in order for growth to occur, we retard our personal growth when we lock things away from our awareness. Remaining conscious of what is emerging and accepting it, as it is, frees us from craving what we don’t have. The source of human suffering is forming attachments to people, events and things when we crave, grasp or cling to them. Freedom emerges when we release all forms of control over external circumstances and people.
My poem below depicts my own journey toward freeing myself from attachment and suffering.
Keys to The Soul
When did I first learn to lock things away?
Inside boxes? Inside me?
There lies the answer to suffering,
but which key will open those doors?
Ancients say stone and bone
contain the wisdom of the ages.
Does my skeleton hold tight
these mysteries of the past?
My bones whisper secrets
in a not-yet familiar tongue.
Learning this foreign discourse
is weary work for ears still deaf to nuance.
A pattern unravels,
ancient as the journey of my own soul.
Mere fragments come visible, and
like an archeologist, I gently brush away dust
while I await image to take shape.
Are you craving for, grasping at or clinging on to someone or something? What one action can you take to release that attachment?