The Mind Illuminated archive

Stronghold 17 April 2011

What can we do about the pain and suffering of others? What is pain? What is suffering? The definition of dukha and the 4 Noble Truths (briefly).

Automated transcription

Okay. So so the question is about suffering ten is there anything we can do about other people suffering. And I didn't buy you to a look at what really he is. The buddha pointed out but there is is a physical pain, which is absolutely unavoidable and like. The nature of the world is that we're gonna experience physical pain. But the mental paint that we experience is a different sort of thing. And most of the suffering that you see in other people and if you look inside with is actually mental suffering.

And even in this physical thing, you can different individuals will handle paint differently. And some people will really resist the pain and that experience intense suffering. As a matter of fact most people have that experience. And do you have cause of physical pain. And you have a thought. All I can't stand. It gets worse. Right. If you think cole maybe if I do this, the pain will grow away. It... The the prospect that the pain going in actually makes the pain more difficult to deal with until you've done whatever it is that you think you can but to relieve your bank.

Which kind of illustrates that the physical pain is a sensation, but even with physical pain, the suffering that we experience is really mental. And so if we make this distinction, yeah we can see that physical pain is inevitable in the world. But the suffering that involves mental pain might be a completely different story. That because it's occurring in our mind, perhaps it's not inevitable perhaps certain things that we can do about suffering. And this is what what rebooted was really pointing out.

That if we examine suffering what find is that we are resisting something that is. Price of non acceptance. And it's the very interesting thing and the language that the buddha taught holiday word... We usually translate as pain and suffering his too stuttgart. And that word doesn't pain that's suffering are not quite accurate translations of that where that word means un. And you can have everything from the most mild dissatisfaction to the most extreme suffering and it's all called du. And the distinction that I made a few minutes ago, physical pain is called Du Du.

Repeat the word twice, and that means it's physical pain. And the mental pain or suffering is called dol duke to distinguish two different kinds of data one kind than on the other is not necessarily. But what we do is we attribute our suffering to whatever the circumstance is that we want to be different. Rather than attributing it to the fact that we're wanting it to be different. That's an interesting Idea. So when you're suffering and you say well, if if if only this were different, then I'd be happy you're putting all the burden on the world change.

So gonna be happy. And unfortunately, as we know, that doesn't happen often enough. And so what would happen if you could stop resisting the way things are. Accept to way there, which by the way does not mean that you're not going to do anything that you is in your capability to do. To change things, accepting the way things are is just realizing that this is the way they are. And he's i that thing to be gained. By generating a huge emotional resistance. And and that's why separate from taking appropriate action to see if you can make the future be different.

But this is the idea is can we make an internal mentorship and will that change things? Well, if you look if it would duke and and it's original meaning, it means the something that's un. It means you are dissatisfied What is the satisfaction? If it is exactly this resistance to what is. Right? This is the way things are, but I don't want it this necessarily want so right. And so that was actually the the first... You know, there's the four noble truths to move hot. I'm the first true. Is as truth about the nature of suffering.

And then the second truth type was that that... Well we're creating our suffering by resisting what is by how the craving we have for things to be different. We want something we don't have where we don't... We we want something that his present to cease to be there. And and so he said when his... The practice that he recommended was that whenever you're suffering, try to look inside yourself and see where the resistance shifts, where the craving is for something to be different than the way it is.

Have them try let over that. And if you can let, go over even for a moment, the suffering will yeah. Which leads to the third truth which is if you can permanently hold return the tendency to want things to be different than they are. And you won't have any more suffering. And the foreign truth was a full path which leads to being able to do that. That leads to the permanent cessation of craving, which equals the permanent cessation of software. Anyway, So what we... This is a very fundamental teaching, but if we take from this, the obvious thing, we realized that when you see somebody else, suffering, but they are creating their own suffering.

I don't know that they they don't intend to be. Right. It might be a lot easier for you as an outside observer observing somebody else, realizing that they are creating their own sorry right. So now of course, if there was some simple thing that you could do which would remove what the... What they perceive as the external cause of the suffering, And if they... And and if doing that wasn't gonna hurt somebody else or create some other kind of problem, naturally, you would do it. That would be a very good thing to do anything that you can do to relieve the suffering or somebody else if as long as it doesn't produce some further harm.

Is a good thing to do. But if that's the only thing that you do, that the next time something like that happens the person will resist it, and they'll generate that i'm suffering against. So you haven't you haven't done anything. To help the person long term. You've only provided a short term sewage. And the other thing is that, of course, more often than not, there isn't something like that that you can do. Right? So The one other thing that you could do is if you can help in some way them too, cause that person to realize that they are causing their own suffering.

If you point that out in some way that they could understand, then they might make a shift in their mental attitude. And Best case, today they will cease the suffer in that moment at least till their resistance construct. But if they make the right metal shift, at the very least, it will often reduce the amount of the suffering. So we go back to an example of physical pain if somebody has an injury in Illness causes physical pain. And you see them moaning and groan and miserable bull and things like that.

One of the things that you can do is just to def something but just try a relax. Try try to stop resisting it. And if you if if they're willing to do that, You probably all know this because you experienced it yourself. If they do that, the pain is still there, but it's not going to why that. It's not. So so that's a really obvious example to keep that mind. Well, if you think about every other instance of suffering when you see see somebody else suffering. Is it's really very similar. There's some external factor.

Which you may or may not be able to change. But it becomes suffering because of minds reaction to. And so the most valuable way of helping somebody is you talk then you sympathize with him, but notice most, especially you try to see exactly what it is they're doing in here that's making this worse than it needs to be. And if you can show them that, and and they stop doing that. They make the and they'll be able to deal with the situation much better. Not only that, they might that that is much more likely to carry over the future instances.

So let me find themselves i but if they can't apply this saint chris. So it's more of a long time rate to tell me helping me them as well. Same thing of course, applies to yourself. When you find yourself suffering. You can. Look for the resistance that is making what would otherwise be an unpleasant circumstance. Into a source of serious suffering for you. And if you can't see how you're doing that to pay yourself and you might be able to change that deal with the situation much much better. One other thing dealing with other people?

And actually probably dealing with yourself too, But If if there's nothing that you can do and if your attempt to help the person to use their own scot, are unsuccessful. You need not to be attached to that because otherwise, your in that. That's not That's not going to help at all. They have to keep that in mind. So don't be attached to the result. And likewise in your own situation, if you get attached to the results of, I I have this great trick. I know how to deal with there. And for some reason some part of your mind is just not willing to let go of that resistance.

Then that has a potential to Now I add a second cause of suffering to the first... Oh I can't do this anymore. What's matter but me, blame yourself I should be able to deal with this. You don't need to do that either. Remember when when I was sometimes like, foreigners would come. And like you would pick them some and plus. Awful. And everybody in there doesn't wanna be there. But can't do it, and everybody takes it. When you enter do I see it as in doing and I go out with that mentality did you want enter it?

Yeah. I'm it. And it's kind of, like the challenge. And it's just... It's the way it is maybe we right here in the bus no. Why are you getting all upset? About. There's nothing we can do with about it. Right. But you know, they if you are with the person that it's getting all worked up. Then I get attached to their suffering still not comfortable. Do you I take it as as mine you end up. If I was by myself, I would just... Yeah. Yeah. But I tried to, like, make things better and then I get attached to that.

As you can change it. You know, that's what makes us vulnerable to to. What ec totally calls somebody else's who's pain body. Somebody suffering he of they're and they're pain right. When somebody in their pain buddy, they walk everybody around up because you know, they're paying by. And that's the only reason that it works is because we start off seeing their suffering seeing their paint and we wanna do something about it, But they're not got let. That's not their goal. Their goal is not here their paint.

They just wanna see you how was much pain faded. And if you let that happen. We spread a lot of pain around of the world. Yeah. You have to learn to let go. K. Anything thing too is, you know, there is always something positive least stay my experience. Even what I've been in a lot of physical pain, this always be something good. Usually, there is even something that feels good at fact type. But, you know Things are always beautiful. This it's like somewhere deep inside is a part of here, but i was everything is just perfect.

And if you can if you can get in touch with that then no matter, how bad the situation has your best. The sky still blue birds you're saying, you know, whatever there's always something yeah. And if you remember that, the world you lived in if you think about it is a direct result of what you pay attention to? Any given situation? Two people one person can pay attention to everything that is traveling and ugly thirty broke. Not nice. Somebody else in the same situation can pay attention to everything that is beautiful good.

It's also charming and mean right? And they're living too but we different work. So you always have been choice. And the the instrument of your choice is what you choose to pay attention to. And the thoughts that go through your. Well you pay attention two triggers feelings and the feelings triggered thoughts. And at all just kinda snowball. And that's bad if you start out focusing on the negative. But that same snowball effect is a really good thing if you focus on Seems why sometimes in order under you have to allow yourself and look at and look at yourself, being in the negative children.

Mh. And in this I am negative you're c lane. That's what is happening. That's happening I thought about. No. Might not. And it seems like it takes a little while sometimes let back discipline. Mh. In to get. Part of plans. Yeah. Yeah sometimes. But right. Why? Watching work? Should play think its space. Like the other data I we another sign. We don't stop. So. And then I I don't feel like this. This this happening some words on a paper, how could they create such a So then I'm just decided to take a walk and fix it all and of like.

I got on retrieve. Sometimes is funny. I think that at some point, it just gets to be funny. Mh. There's so much that's... I don't know. You know, you you suddenly, like, see yourself oh my god. I a take a walk. Yeah. So it's just states of mind. That just moved so fast from one thing to another. And with that observation. Not after my it's saying. See it's not the result. That is true. I remember many years ago. Being very depressed and at the same time thing and where that there was some part you just thought about everything including the fact I was depressed it's just ridiculously funny.

First part made was depressed. Something like that. Well, one thing that I thought i he the things that I said to you, you've heard these kinds of things many times in your like, maybe not the same things with things like there. Oh that makes all my sense. If only I could do that, But that the problem. Right? You hear these things you recognize that they're true. You realize that, well, that's... But then you go all time. You forgot that first of all, if we get those the most important in time. The other thing that happens at first is that even if you remember them.

You're so overwhelmed why whatever is happening, but you can't you can't really apply them. So All it's all this kind of good advice because not worth anything. Unless you remembered it when you needed it. Pad unless you have the ability to apply it at the times that you need it most. So that that's the real problem beyond beyond just the wisdom of the way things are and how you're like could be so much better. Because no matter how many times you hear re the expensive thing. They'll go out into world, and something will happen.

And you'll forget all about it, and you know just react not me exactly the same way you always have. Right. That's what practice all about. And it's it's in terms of your ability to let go of your attachments and let, go grade craving for things to be different. That's that's a capability that you'd have. At which you can exercise in simple situations whereas the disturbance that behind is not very strong. But it has to do, that particular capability has to be developed become much more powerful.

If going to be able to help you when things really starting to follow it. Things really good. So it's the same thing as developing a muscle. If you want to make your muscles strong, you start off with little white rates. And if you can remember every time you start to feel unhappy about some trivial thing that it doesn't carry a lot of emotional rate. And if you can let go of that, that will make... That will give you the ability both to remember and to be able to do this. Human a more difficult situation.

So it it involves practice it involves, you know, just just like extra exercise like anything else. And you can have to get used to doing that. If you can train yourself to remember when you get annoyed at some little thing. That all this is just gonna put in that mood for rest of the morning. So I'm just gonna let go with that. If you can get used to remembering that the little things, then you'll also remember it. At times when you're really need it. So practice is absolutely essential. And when you sit in meditation, i get your What you're doing is you're you're training your mind and to exactly the same skills that you need.

The rest of the time and the rest of your life can be able to deal with circumstances to be able to find the place that you can be happy to be able to remember all the good darn advice that the buddha has passed down to its nearly teachers have patch down. Because if you can't remember it. And if you don't have the ability to act on it, might as well never existed. So when you sit down and medicaid or remembering what you're doing is actually it's the very first thing you have to master. Develop mindful awareness knowing what you're doing right now.

And you find that your mind doesn't naturally do that. You sit down. You follow a for two or four breaths. And then two minds off on the trip. And so you have to train your mind to stay say to sure remember what it is that you're you're there too. And azure your skills and meditation to get better your skills in doing the same thing and life for your better. No. Knowing what's going on in the press moment and especially what's going on in your own like. Is the secret to so much of what we want and life.

This secret to being able to have good relationships for for people because What gets in the way of our relationships with the people is is that part of it sits on automatic pilot that's reacting to. Old stuff that doesn't really have anything to do with this person in that's particular situation. The emotional reactions to something that someone says or does that triggers some deep seated feeling of maybe being inadequate or being slight or something like that, which quite likely isn't what's happening in the president at all.

But it triggers our feelings and then the words related to those feelings come out and then the situation deteriorating. You extend this to every aspect of your life and you applying for the same thing. But so much So much of our lives happen automatically out of our past condition. And all you need to do to keep that from happening is to just be present in the moment, be aware of what's going on your point. Be aware... I mean, we all had the experience where we done and said something and we realized afterwards that...

Well, we really reacting to something different what was those happening. If you knew that in the moment, it would have been totally different. You or say that. You would have continued on with the real situation of the time. Also, even when somebody else gets mad at you, or ent you or something like that. You don't need to react automatically. You don't need to... What you don't need to let don't succeed in making you feel bad if that was really their intention in the first place. All of this, all of this happens because we're not really aware of what's going on.

So the payoff of meditation is that whether we intend to or not, if we trying to meditate and we're successful, when we get up and out in the world. The line that's been trained in that way is gonna keep functioning in that way, and things you're gonna get better. I have an nephew very angry. Was well it's less angry now. Working on it. And we had any interaction a few months ago that blue away this is very angry and response just like that. And was looking for something in car, and I came to ask him about his daughter because she had been not very well.

So I asked him and he just they kept on doing whatever he was doing and just... I didn't have time. I had time breathing utah. Asked him again and then he turn and look at me. To get breath. And said she's doing buried here. Totally like I couldn't believe it. You know, that he Is that breath? Just that rest that we took... To give, like... Like I'm not gonna do this fighting thing like we always because you would say something and I would. Separate like that and then oh, okay. I you know you're busy and then.

I was it. So it's the short interaction, but just that breath. I could see it. You know, I could see that how you gun present network. Is anger of form of suffering? Is right. It's anger, the form of suffering. Get certainly is. Gets it's a cause of suffering. That's so it could go rude. Suffering. Form up. One of the things that if you pay attention what they when you... When you're angry is obvious that dean angry doesn't doesn't feel good. Not to mention usually, I rank or you do say things that hurt other people very often that comes back even.

More. But even when that doesn't happen, when somebody does something and you get angry yet. It's very good important that just now. To disturbing you. Right. Making you feel uncomfortable and not only that it is conditioning you to be a person that's it's more likely to get angry and the future. You know read that reinforce goes back. I will say sometimes people don't realize that anger is a informed of suffering. Because when they get angry, it seems like it makes them feel better and stuff like.

Based on appeal of stronger more more self confident. And that's that's probably part of why some people become angry people is because somehow there's been some positive effect that comes from the anchor. But there problem there is that if if you need to be angry if you stronger and feel better about yourself. The real problem with something deeper is you know, why are you relying on something that's on hold? Because even if getting angry, makes you feel better about yourself internally, which is kind of an ego thing.

If you examine the way it makes you feel in your body, it does not make your log to feel better. Plus the things you might do and say out of anger or going to definitely cause you things that. And cause affects that right question of and part suffering. But we why do you we get angry? Makes It has the same root as training that you talked about hers. You want things to be different from the way they are. So... And sometimes we get angry just because just for no other reason than not, but we think we way should be a recent.

We know raise somebody else. So get angry, because it's not the way we want it to be. Sometimes we get angry because we're hurt very often. Anger is is what we do and we're feeling pain and we don't want a feel pain really get angry all about it. You heard me, so rather than than me, experiencing this very that you caused right whatever was you said. I'm gonna leave it behind. I'm gonna get angry go into to it rage. It's just same thing. It's etcetera right. You don't want. Well the real thing is that you don't want to hurt.

And think well, I don't want people saying those kinds of things to me. But you have to have question What is her about you, but allows those things I heard you. And it's a question i bought somebody else sales. You know his kids say sticks and stones are right me Yeah we're true. Get by words all over the time. But words just vibrations in the air. The only way they can actually hurt us is if we take them him and we we heard ourselves as a result. Simply I I get angry. I get angry if if I tell me what to do.

I'm I'm about to do it. Know. But then you see like, oh, do that. But you, if you think about it, is it isn't it that? So let's gonna do the anyway. Why am I getting angry because somebody says and what I'm gonna do anyway. Yeah. In that woman, I don't think it's really ridiculous. I But isn't because it's your ego reacting Think I know better. No. I'm going... I know. You have to tell me. Think have. You think I've done? I don't know what I'm supposed to. Have the question around... Like when you're meditating and give it disappear.

And then back good because you're not present, or maybe you don't even know. Now pardon me the yes you're god that they're going. Yeah. I mean, I don't know. How them approach that and and if it was scary. Okay. Can't be scary. Well, there can be different different kinds of experiences that people have described as disappearing meditation. And some are good and some are are not particularly good will be slow. If you if you in a deep state of medication. Your your you're mind, your brain will stop processing information from your sense under your body.

And so you can have the experience of, you know, your body disappears. Will disappear. And that in itself is either good in our bad thing. But the fact that you're your meditation. And so the the ordinary sensory information is not coming through. That's a positive indication about the quality. Another way that we can disappear is that. Usually, we have a sense of self for being this person who it is. Observing things. Here is the deciding thing. It was feeling thing there's like that. And This truth is that that is that's really kind of a story or mind tells.

You're there's a part of your mind that sort of like the narrator or storyteller that kinda keeps track of or how you learn what you do is you're like design. Yeah the story it tells you know, as a every good story, Teller creates a hero who things happen to and you know, they don't just describe the events for the world is always happening to somebody and somebody's doing something in response to And that's where this sense itself that we have most of the time comes from and deep medication. Sometimes that of your mind will just turn on.

And you're just being there. You're fully conscious, totally aware, but you realize where where the sense of itself used to be is just kind of there's nothing there made for. That's another way self disappear, which is a very it's is a very good thing. Because the experience of that helps you realize that they have the the self that you feel like you are and that you cling to and then your ego revolves around. And it causes you to suffer somebody said something. You realize. That that solution. It doesn't even need to be there.

It could be gone and there's still... But still everything else is still the same. Nothing's really been lost. As a matter of fact, things are even better without it. And so here you keep that experience then it helps you you get to the place where you you don't need to say attached to this. This cell idea and the Ego brings that that's the generation That's period. But sometimes when people say, I I just seem to have disappeared. It's like there's this gap where they don't wanna. You know and people will say, why I really had good medication I don't know where i I was on.

You know they don't even ring remember the time team the task they are never need... That's not so good. What happened there. Is your mind slip into to a state of darkness. It was light being asleep, but not so much to sleep but you're nodding or or anything that we wake up. Just, you know, you you're basically in a very reduced state of consciousness. Who aren't really processing any sensory information. You know, basically, your your mind wasn't doing much of anything at all. Time teams hats quickly.

And that that... That's not such a good. And what you can do if if that happens to you as you watch out for what happens or leads into that when you feel everything sort of getting vague and fuzzy and unclear and you're starting to disappear. They bring yourself back to the print say and continue meditating. So you can have one of the other kind. Of disappearing experiences which are are better. So sense of presence whatever know if you're there finds and shady on the red. That's one way. Making you sure here.

I mean, there there been times I felt like present, but I'm not you know, I'm not aware of breathing, Maybe I'm not even breathing. I don't know. But can gets a little bit You know, there's an edge I come to. It's scary and I like from back, you know. Yep. Help that. So the the the key thing is get you if you are really alert kinda a awake. And unconscious when this happens, then that's that's a good thing. And if it seems if it seems scary, That's not right. But you you don't be... In and if you keep having experience, you won't be and keep jumping back.

It's natural for the line to to to do that to to try to go back to where things are familiar. Stable one. But you don't have to do that. And at some point, you'll be able to just to to not do that and just just go with what's happening. So as long as you feel like you really alert and a awake conscious, and it's not all. And it's a good thing. And so just let it let it happen rather than. Interrupting it or having there can arise the thought and the desire that oh, this is something good I want more of this and and that's not gonna work either.

Could just just have to relax him it happened.

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