The extra tension in the mind

Suffering can be differentiated from pain. There is pain in life, without doubt, but suffering is the extra tension in the mind that is unable to accommodate change and accept the truth of its experience. 

The first two noble truths are that life is difficult and that suffering is the tension in the mind that insists an experience be different from the way it is.

It’s the imperative in the mind that this moment be different that causes our suffering

Sylvia Boorstein, Greet this moment as a Friend

4 thoughts on “The extra tension in the mind

  1. I struggle with this aspect of mindfulness. As a Christian, Paul tells us he learned to be content in all situations, and he suffered violence, imprisonments, hunger, and ultimately execution. We are given survival instincts to move us away from pain suffering and harm…those instincts are SO strong!!!!

    1. Hi Donovan. Thanks for the comment and apologies about being slow to reply. There is a fundamental sense in mindfulness and in other traditions including the Western Christian tradition that I grew up in, that the present moment is something to accept and even show gratitude for – this moment, this sunset, this cup of coffee. And that extends then to how our life history is at this moment, or how it has developed to this moment, or even how external situations at this moment are, such as the virus restrictions. And that phrase from Saint Paul always challenges and encourages me in that direction. So I try to cultivate curiosity with the big and small things of each day and nourish an awake quality in the mind – a mind that knows – and when there is resting in the knowing nothing can disturb the heart. And I guess that is the place that Saint Paul got to, which allowed him to be content in all. However, it does not mean that we have to accept injustice or being treated badly in our own lives, when we have a capacity to change these things. It seems to me to refer strongly to those things which are already here, and cannot change – like the rainy weather here today in Ireland – and also it is a way of working with our emotions in response to those types of difficulties – can we be with this feeling without trying to fix it or fight it. Many thanks for your thoughts and your presence, Karl

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