Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Realistic First Step

Interpersonal suffering is part of being a human being. Everyone of us experiences loneliness, doubt, and fear - but do we recognize it? It is gift to be able to feel the suffering that arises in normal life experiences - though we certainly don't desire or seek suffering. Recognizing what is true does not exacerbate the pain and sorrow that exists. Being in contact is the way to release and freedom.

In the deliniations of kinds of suffering this passage (pages 26-30) can help us recognize suffering that is ineveitable, suffering that connects us to humnanity, and suffering that is optional.

Interpersonal suffering is the suffering that stems from our associations with other people. It is a vast subset of psychological suffering. Stresses with family members, coworkers, and friends are interpersonal suffering. Loneliness and disconnection are also part of interpersonal suffering. Each of us regularly experiences interpersonal suffering. Simply recognizing these dynamics at work, and knowing that they arise as constructions of the sensitive heart-mind, can be helpful. (pp. 26-27)

To observe life this directly is not pessimistic; it is realistic. Ignoring the problem doesn't help. Indeed ignorance keeps the suffering invisible, assures its continuity, and establishes it as determining the tenor of our lives... If we can see things clearly, we can begin to reorient our lives toward happiness and freedom. Understanding the causes of suffering is the first step toward freedom. (pp.29-30)

No comments: