“Disciple: What is Enlightenment?
Buddha: The end of suffering.”
Pain and pleasure are the way our higher self, experiences the material world.
They are both entangled, connected like the two sides of a coin.
One defines the other and could not exist without.
They are both equally vital and necessary to our lives.
Pleasure lets us know that everything is fine, that we are doing the right things in life.
Pain lets us know that something is wrong, that we are not doing the things we should do, to better and benefit our life.
Suffering is the way our Ego experiences the material world.
The opposite of suffering is enlightenment.
Suffering and enlightenment are not given to us; they are a choice we make.
Knowing and understanding this is the first step to enlightenment.
We cannot avoid the pain in our life. We get hurt physically and emotionally.
We may harm our body, accidentally or willingly in so many ways. We burn, bruise and broke.
We abuse drugs and food. We punish and desecrate our body in any imaginable way.
And even if we don’t do it, somebody else will do it to us. We are used and abused by the people and the society we live in both physically and mentally all the time.
All this pain is real but the way we react to it is a choice.
SUFFERING IS A CHOICE
How do you react to pain? Do you reach out for the easy way out, for the “pain killers” so ready available, or do you look for a solution to your problem? How do you react to the people and the negative situations they create in your life? Do you react with anger or compassion?
I grew up in a society riddled with the scourge of alcoholism. My father died of alcoholism when I was just 17. Looking at his dead body, for some miraculous reason I decided at that moment that I will never give in to that disease and I never did. I looked at my friends and my peers following the path of self-destruction and I always heard the same excuse “My father was an alcoholic therefore I am one too”
That’s nothing but an excuse. It is a choice not a law. But something else happened that day. I felt like my father betrayed me, I felt abandoned and short changed. I wasn’t sad, I did not cry. I was just mad.
That resentment followed me all my life and had a lot of negative influence on my life decisions, on my relationships with others. It was only after years of suffering that I learn compassion. Only when I was able to look at my father and see just another tortured, imperfect soul, that I was able to let go of my anger and resentment. I could have choose that when I was 17 and save me years of grief but I did not know any better. I made the wrong choice.
So look at your past and present negative experiences in your life. How did you choose to react?
Did you choose suffering or did you choose the enlightened path?