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12 September 2007 @ 04:50 pm
Suffering: You are what you eat.  
I was thinking about the Buddhist concept of suffering this morning.

Suffering is everywhere. It is inescapable.

I was having a very nice morning, and just as a philosophical exercise, I asked myself, "How am I suffering right now?" on a completely decent, low stress day.

Hunger is suffering. I was hungry. But it's suffering that I accept and am dismissive of, because I am in the fortunate situation of having spent most of 30 years ending that suffering shortly after it begins by having access to food.

Is my absolute acceptance and dismissal of hunger contingent on my continued access to food? Probably.

Which is better long-term: accepting suffering or finding its salves?

As a student of the Tao, I try hard to not take for granted the little joys. Should I also not take for granted the little sufferings, just because I have the salve on hand?

If there's a dismissal, was it really acceptance in the first place?

Is there anything to be gained by being more aware of suffering? (Besides increased humanity)

Is there anyway to ease other kinds of suffering by mapping the observations of my behaviour with hunger? By, perhaps, lending the faith of a more consistent experience to a less common struggle with suffering? As food heals hunger, so does time heal heartache, for instance... Knowing that time, once consumed, will do the trick, can suffering be eased while it is still present? (Hmm, and this really all about my life-long fickle foe, Faith?)

I do not suffer from hunger because I have faith that my suffering will end soon. What an interesting concept.

Food for thought... pun intended.
Current Mood: excitedmental
bitterfun on September 13th, 2007 03:59 am (UTC)
Bah! Suffering. Silly Buddhists, suffering is a perception. ;)
Kburgunder on September 13th, 2007 08:51 am (UTC)
GRiN. One of many reasons why I lean like a sunflower to the Tao, and not to Buddhism. Pema Chödrön is a good ambassador though.
Varnvarn_ix on September 13th, 2007 09:09 pm (UTC)
Buddhism, good. Tao, also good. I lean towards philosophies that have a healthy core and enough mysticism for me to be tongue-in-cheek about it.

There was an experiment: two groups of office workers were exposed to the same level of loud traffic noise. They were told their productivity would be scored. However, individuals from one group had access to a volume control knob, while individuals from the other did not. Those with access to a volume control knob were told they could use it to lower the level of noise, but it would subtract points from their score.

Turns out very few people actually turned that knob, and the group as a whole was on average a lot more productive (with knob-corrected scores) than the group without access to the volume control.

It's a lot easier to bear discomfort if you know you control the situation.
Kburgunder on September 13th, 2007 09:52 pm (UTC)
Wow. Well said, my friend :)