Why do we suffer? Change is not what’s painful – it’s our resistance to pain that causes us to suffer more. The same goes for loss – it’s mostly our attachment that is the problem. Even physical pain is easier to handle when we change the way we think about it. By changing how we frame our pain, we may suffer less.

When we think what is happening to us is unfair, undeserved, not right, or unbearable, we suffer more. Unforgiveness – of ourselves and others – causes more suffering, too. Release your past, once and for all.

Here’s the reality: Most people are emotionally attached to things, people, circumstances, feelings, or futures they think they must have in order to be happy, or that they deserve or have earned, or that they would not be able to do without.

In addition to that, the vast majority of people are concerned, to varying degrees, about the opinions of other people, so we tend to do things we wouldn’t normally do and buy things we don’t necessarily need or want and can’t afford (with more we don’t have) to impress others who don’t really notice or care.

How would your life change if you didn’t give a hoot about what others thought?

How much better would you feel if you accepted that you could be happy and fulfilled and complete alone and naked, and you only had only the bare essentials? That you didn’t need anything or anyone to be at peace and satisfied? That everything you have beyond the necessities of life is a luxury, a bonus, an undeserved gift?

Sometimes, it’s good to regain perspective in this world in which too many people live to accumulate things and comfort, where many are, in fact, addicted to comfort and live in fear of loss? Read about prisoners of war, prisoners in jail, soldiers during wars, poor people who live happy lives, monks, and other religious loners, and people surviving and even thriving  in war-torn countries, and realize that most Westerners live like millionaires in comparison with the rest of the world. Their priorities are simply different.

I once spoke to a man who lost his leg. He told me he was very grateful to have food in his tummy and his eyesight. When we focus on what we have instead of what we don’t have, when we have an attitude of gratitude, when we embrace an eternal perspective (spiritually) and become less attached and selfish, life gets easier. When we focus on helping others who suffer more than we do, our suffering decreases.

When you associate with the right people, consume the right information, learn from the correct sources, and change your perspectives and priorities, live in the moment and become grateful for what you have, you will suffer a lot less. Instead of TV reality shows, sports, and porn, why not read the Bible and the Dhammapada? Listen here and here.

Robin Elliott