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The Daily Dharma – January 16, 2022

Photo of Norman Fischer

The most astonishing fact of human life is that most of us think 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.” I think many of us believe that since suffering is so bad and so unpleasant if we were really good and really smart, it wouldn’t arise in the first place. Somehow suffering is our own fault. If it’s not our fault, then it’s definitely someone else’s fault. But when suffering arises, we think we should surely be able to avoid it. We should be able to set it to one side and not dwell on it. We should “move on,” as they say, go on to positive things, do a little Buddhism, meditate, get around the suffering, and go forward. We shouldn’t allow the suffering to stop us, not allow it to mess us up. We believe that if only we play our cards right, we could have a positive life without much suffering. We constantly come back to that way of thinking. 
It’s incredible that we would think such a thing.

Norman Fischer
from When you Greet Me I Bow
Chapter: Suffering Opens the Real Path