Suffering, according to Buddhism, is the existential reality of the human condition. It is called the first noble truth, and we all have poignant personal experiences to relate.
However, it need not be that way.
While the Buddha noted that suffering was a truth, it's a relative truth, not an absolute one. When we choose the ego, we fully identify with all its projections, namely our body, other bodies, and the world. In which case, suffering indeed befalls our existential reality.
However, the mistake we embark upon is attempting to remove or reduce the pain within the realm of the projection (bodies, world).
It's a trap, like quicksand, in which the more energy we exert attempting to free ourselves from suffering, the deeper we sink. Which is precisely the occurrence each time we seek to fix a problem in the world or our body in the belief that it will make us happier.
If this, that, or the other thing were different, then things would be so much better.
And we all have our highlighted list of this, that, and the other things.
The best thing to do in quicksand is not fight against it. Calmly and intentionally bring yourself to the surface and lie back. Once you are floating, escape becomes much easier.
Pushing against the world - when we insist that people or situations or our body be different - we founder further, becoming even more engulfed. Futility reigns. Suffering compounds.
But when we realize that all our pain comes from identification with the ego mind, we lay the groundwork for peace. Calmly and intentionally bringing awareness to the problem as it is and not the way we've set it up, we learn to float above the battleground of strife. Escape from suffering becomes much easier.
We've transformed a seeming existential reality into a certainty of experiential bliss.
Join me in Thursday's ACIM Zoom discussion where we'll explore the idea that our lives are like quicksand but that freedom is eminently within our grasp. I look forward to seeing you then.