Suffering, Memory And Dread
One of the most important things I’ve learned during my time on earth is that no structure here is permanent. All that we experience has a structure. There are components that make up the structures. The structures can be seen, as with buildings or rivers. Structures can also be felt – as with joy or suffering. It’s easy to understand that buildings are structures. We can see the components used to build them. At any job site you can see stacks of components. Bricks, lumber, sand, pipe etc. Pretty easy to grasp. How about a river?
How easy is it to see a river? Can we see a river as a structure? The components are smaller. Basically Hydrogen and Oxygen bind together – building – water. How about feelings? What are the components? How about memory? Is memory a component of feeling? What if memory is erased? If you had no memory you could watch any cruelty and feel nothing. Without memory would life have meaning?
A two week old baby doesn’t care about anybody. It may like certain things and dislike certain things – all of these likes and dislikes are physical. If the moon disappeared the baby would have no emotional reaction. I don’t know exactly when any new human starts to have memories. The reason the baby doesn’t suffer emotionally is because it doesn’t know what it is, what you are, where it’s at – or anything else. It is only having physical experiences. Right up to the point of – memories.
If we can see suffering as a memory association we can easier remove suffering from our experience. You can call the suffering whatever you like – pain, fear, anxiety, depression – Dread – it’s all suffering. They’re just words used to communicate to others the world we see and feel. So call it unpleasant or discomfort or confusion. Its good to use a word that has the least amount of historic attachments. Consider that suffering may be linked, in the vast neural network of the brain, to all sorts of terms like hard, difficult, work, strain, impossible….the garden of Eden.
We don’t dread what we have no memory of. We fear a future we’ve experienced. In thought or deed. Fear of the unknown doesn’t exist…
Disconnecting From Memory
There are any amount of connections possible. I have chosen the word nonsense to replace suffering. I say Anger and fear are nonsense. Jealousy and envy – nonsense. Craving and neediness, longing – nonsense. Anything I experience that I’d rather not – is nonsense. My attachments to the word nonsense are all non threatening and trivial, like nuisance and bother. I would suggest that every one find sillier words to use for suffering that’s not physical or physically threatening. We have that choice.
Fear and Suffering
As soon as the memory association is made and suffering is present fear is added. This negative energy always, always, makes things worse. We can create anxiety simply by being afraid of the coming suffering. We suffer from the thought of suffering. So the main picture to develop, the main habit to be formed, is “a lesser reaction to fear”. Can I make this lesser reaction a habit? Sure. I can make a habit out of anything.
Remember to have as much fun as possible along the way. Is there ever a good reason not to try and enjoy yourself?