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The Daily Dharma – December 15, 2021

Resting Cat by H. Zell

The most astonishing fact of human life is that most of us think that it’s possible to minimize and even eliminate suffering. We actually think this, which is one reason it’s so difficult for us when we’re suffering. We think, “This shouldn’t be this way” or “I’m going to get rid of this somehow” . . .

It’s incredible that we would think such things. The more we look around us, the more we pay attention to what we’re feeling and what others around us are feeling, the more suffering we see. There is more suffering than we know. Anxiety is suffering, isn’t it? There is a lot of anxiety. Not getting what you want is suffering. How many of us don’t get what we want? Irritation is suffering. Having to put up with things you don’t like is suffering. Knowing that you’re going to have to die, and you really don’t want to – that’s suffering. Sickness is suffering. Old age is suffering. Not having enough money is suffering. Having a bad marriage is suffering. Having no marriage if you want a marriage is suffering. Fear is suffering. Knowing you could lose what you think you have is suffering. Being ashamed is suffering. Feeling disrespected is suffering . . . Being too cold, being too hot, being stuck in traffic, getting in the wrong line and the guy in the front is very, very slow, and the other line that you could have gotten into is going much faster, and you could have been in the front of that line by now, but if you joined it now you’d be at the end – all this is suffering . . .

So the idea that suffering is some sort of mistake and a minor problem that we could overcome with a little bit of meditation and a positive attitude is the towering pinnacle of human self-deception.

Norman Fischer
from When You Greet Me I Bow