Tolerant Patience

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Even though they experience sufferings,
The wise don't let the mind cloud or disturb;
In making war on the addictions,
The battle will bring much harm.


Addiction? Isn't this a bit harsh, suggesting we are addicted to anger, to responding to harms with anger and bitterness? In what ways is your work to tolerate pain and suffering rather than lash out in anger like fighting an addiction?

The challenge is to not simply learn to grin and bear hardship but to actually change our feeling toward suffering!

We shift our relation to pain by recognizing that it has benefits. Pain is not all bad!

Pain is the great leveler. No matter how full of ourselves we are, life’s sorrows can puncture our, pride and  humble us. A sudden serious illness, an accident, death… These can transform our armor of self importance.

Pain also nurtures our empathy for the suffering of others. Living through a life threatening illness connects us with all those who have experienced this hardship. The death of a parent or loved one binds us with all those who have also lost loved ones. Which is everyone!

And paying attention to how we respond to pain teaches us how to avoid those situations that feed our angry responses.