August 11, 2018

We can look at happiness and suffering, to see what they really mean.

First of all, remember that pain and suffering are two different things. You may have pain, but not suffer. Events can cause pain, but it’s the interpretation of the events that causes suffering.

Say someone breaks a window of your car. You immediately interpret this event: Why did that have to happen to me? Why did I park there? What am I going to do now?—I’m already short of money.

All of these are interpretations of one simple event— the window broke. If you could take in that event without interpretation, all the energy you would have wasted—in anger, in feeling sorry for yourself, in self-criticism— would be available for you to use to deal with the situation.

In nearly every situation, your “interpreter” is causing you suffering. Let’s say someone called you stupid. The interpreter, because he is connected to the ego, stirs you up and makes you ready for an argument. Multiply that by seven billion, and you can see why this planet is the way it is—in the absence of understanding, there is violence.

Now, let’s look at it differently. Someone called you stupid. You could say to yourself, “That’s interesting— I wonder why they said that?” And you look at your behavior. You may see, “Wow, they were right!” Then you see you should be grateful to that person for helping you to see what you did. Or you look and can’t find a reason. You could say, “That person was misinformed, or, maybe they were in a bad mood or something.” You see that they need support, and you wish them well.