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Friday, February 21, 2014

ON SUFFERING V

Student: What is enlightenment?
Buddha: The end of suffering.”


If there is a place in this universe that can be called hell that would be right here and right now.All of imaginable tortures possible, physical and mental, all the cruelty and injustice possible are here.I could give you a thousand examples, wars, genocide, famine, plagues you name it, but today we will keep close to home, we will talk about divorce, a seemingly benign affliction  until you get to know it firsthand. No I have never been divorced and I hope I’ll never be.






So this is the story of a guy named Joe.On the surface Joe was a happily married man but things aren’t always as they appear. One day a small quarrel with his wife ended up in a big fight and Joe moved out of the house. I was caught in the middle of this family drama and trying to patch things up and I was close to find a compromise when the devil (read lawyer) came into the scene and she promise to take Joe to the cleaners. After that all hell broke loose.

Joe was not a very health conscious person. He was a meat and potato kind of guy. He drink and smoke a lot, he never exercised and he worked way, way, to many hours at the office. I am telling you all this because as the divorce progressed and things got more and more nasty, the stress and anxiety started affecting his health. At the worst point he got hives the size of dollar coins all over his body. His doctor told him that he will die if he continued on that path and put him on disability, medication, a regiment of exercise and a strict diet.

With his salary slashed to a quarter of what he was making, Joe had to move into a small guest house a friend offer him at a discount price. He had to return his expensive car lease, let his expensive lawyer go and basically give up his life in the fast lane for a very modest existence. The final day of the trial (did I mention the judge was a woman too?) I couldn’t be in court. So as soon I got out of work I rushed to his place. I was very concern, many times I thought he is going to commit suicide or do something stupid like OD himself to death, so I rushed to him ASASP.

I found Joe in the backyard, barbequing, spatula on one hand, cold beer on the other, cigarette hanging from his lip. He saw me and gave me the largest most genuine smile I ever seen. He hugged me like I was lost at sea for twenty years “How are you my friend?” he greeted me.“How am I? How are you? How did it go?”“Fine – he replied – she took everything but I don’t have to pay her alimony or anything.”And then he said to me “This is the happiest day of my life. It is over”

I realized at that moment that all that pain and suffering he went trough was a product of his mind of his imagination. He was not suffering for losing his once loved woman, or his house, money or material things. He was suffering because he didn’t have control over his life, his destiny, anymore, he was suffering because he didn’t know what the outcome would be. Once the drama was over and an outcome established, the suffering was gone.Although he had lost everything he was the happiest man in the world. He was free from the uncertainty, from the fear of an uncontrollable future. He was back in control, at least for the moment.

It is this capacity of the human mind to imagine the future, of anticipating thing that are yet to happen, that creates the imaginary hell of our suffering. And that hell exist only because our uncertainty.I found myself many time in that place where my destiny seemed like a ran away train ready to derail at any moment and always, no matter how bad the outcome was, in the moment of the coming to a final conclusion, the pain was gone.

So I realized that the way to deal with this kind of problem is to imagine the worst possible outcome and fully accept it as an already fact. It is in this acceptance that you let go of your suffering.
I
t is in the acceptance of your uncertainty that you find inner peace. It is in the acceptance that you are not in control of the things happening to you, or the people around you but only of the way you react to these things or these people.

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