last year

Whatever Is Happening Shouldn’t Be Happening

There’s a lie that I have been discovering over and over and over again in my life.

That lie goes something like this: there exists a state of perfection – satisfaction, ease, grace – that is ceaseless. This present experience is not that. Therefore whatever this is presently is wrong, bad, a problem. I must do something about this problem.

The basis of this lie, as best I can tell at the moment, is the idea that there exists something permanent that can be obtained and held forever.

That is, as best as I can tell, misery – the unquestioned, unseen assumption that there is something other than impermanence and that it can be possessed.

I don’t see that it is possible to solve this problem. Or the problem that one can imagine is created by this belief. Or any variation of this or any other problem.

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My friend, Luis, recently said something to me that really struck me in a profound way. I don’t remember the exact words he used. But one aspect of what it revealed to me was that the belief that suffering should not be is – as best I can tell – a baseless lie.

Suffering, impermanence, unwanted experience, loss, dissatisfaction, unease. This is what happens. And, in some sense – in the sense that fullness and emptiness are flip sides of the same coin, that one cannot exist without the other – even the experiences that I call the opposite of suffering – happiness, peace, okayness, love, bliss – they are not separate from suffering. They are, in this sense, suffering.

The claim that suffering should not be turns out to be just another way to say that life should not be.

The claim that this should not be happening is just another way to say that life should not be happening.

It really seems that way a lot of the time. A lot of the time the pain and horror is so great that it seems that life really should not be.

But there is no absolute basis for this. It is empty.


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