The Desire to Suffer

That title sounds incredibly odd, and likely insane, but most spiritual teachers will agree that suffering is a very necessary ingredient in self realization. So if I know this, and I have not yet truly realized my true nature, should I pursue suffering?

There are so many things that I can do to ‘feel better’. I can exercise, practice meditation, study cognitive therapy, get massages, play an instrument, or create art. But as these practices create a more pleasant life for myself, am I getting in my own way of realization.

Buddhism in simplest terms is the end of suffering, not the mitigation of suffering. Are these things mutually exclusive? If I pay proper attention does a pleasant life have as much to teach me as an unpleasant one?

I don’t believe I consciously choose to suffer but maybe subconsciously??? Seems I am asking many more questions in this post than I am answering. My ego feels quite like a rookie spiritual seeker here.

As an aside this thought process is coming on the heels of a night where I played hockey for 2 hours for the first time in almost a year and feel fantastic.

Anyways very interested in your thoughts on this! Have a great day!

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8 thoughts on “The Desire to Suffer”

    1. Thanks Hariod. So I can indulge in the pleasant side of life so long as I am not doing it as a means to realization, as well I can avoid them if I like but also with the same rationale…

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  1. “Buddha taught nonattachment, not nondesire. He realized that desire happens. Suffering is caused by attachment to desire. The thought I would like that is natural. The idea I will throw a tantrum if I don’t get it is what gets you into trouble.”

    —Alan Cohen from Enough Already

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  2. You may be interested in a book I read. “The End of Suffering: Fearless Living in Troubled Times” by Russell Targ and J.J. Hurtak. There were so many interesting ideas on the topic of this post.

    As a spiritual teacher, I have seen suffering only when it came from emotional attachment or serious physical ailment. Do we grow from those things? We really can. Is it the only way? Certainly not.

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