Being alive is a blessing, but to truly live is a triumph! The majority seek to get through the day. They suffer greatly. Not physically. Only mentally. If they do have any amount of physical suffering, it multiplies their mental suffering exponentially. This is because they are failing to contribute. The lack of contribution causes them to seek validation and significance by compelling others to acknowledge their suffering. They act as though there is an award for the person that has suffered most. All suffering, with few exceptions, is internally manifested. It is a pursuit of recognition or validation for lack of progress. So much easier to blame others for our lack of progress than to look within for understanding or responsibility.
I am fat because of food companies.
I am poor because of the rich.
I am unhappy because of my husband.
I hate my job because of my boss.
I am lazy because it does no good to try, and I have failed in the past.
I recently had an opportunity to interview my father and his two brothers. They talked about growing up in Kentucky with no electricity and no running water. They got their water from a well. They had every excuse in the world to justify a lack of opportunity and feel sorry for themselves. They had seven cows to milk each day to pay the rent at the house they lived in as kids. After practice, while other kids relaxed, they milked the cows. They didn’t complain. It was just how it was. They didn’t feel sorry for themselves or seek government assistance. They lived.
The majority of us, myself included, can’t comprehend living without the luxuries we enjoy today. We suffer not from the thing but the thought of the thing, meaning we suffer twice. Our suffering should compel action. Action is the only course. Why should we suffer in our heads when we can be productive for our cause? It is inaction that allows suffering to overwhelm us.
How to avoid or eliminate suffering:
Much suffering is a result of avoiding responsibility. Maybe you have arrived at your current station at the hands of a force out of your control, but to prevent further suffering requires acceptance of everything. This leads us to the next point.
Suffering is avoiding reality. See things as they are and not as you desire them to be. The imagination triggers an incredible amount of anxiety over events that have not yet occurred and likely will never occur. If we are to set our course, we must be grounded, or we begin a downward spiral leading to depression or desperation.
After accepting responsibility and grounding ourselves in reality, we can decide on our next best action. The only way to avoid suffering is though action. What do victims do? Nothing. Victims suffer because they lack agency in their lives. Agency is a sense of control that results from taking responsibility, living in reality, and taking actions.
If you want to avoid suffering, you must go. Stop seeking comfort or attempting to find joy in more stuff. Another critical component to the avoidance of suffering is service. When we genuinely seek to serve others, we cease to suffer. The more we can help, the more meaningful our life becomes, and the more fulfilled life is for us.