Do we choose to suffer?

I would guess that most of us do not think that we choose to suffer. It just seems to come up on us, and we’re stuck with trying to navigate the situation and emotions.
But during Bhante Sujatha’s dhamma talk today, he explained there are two ways we can handle difficulties. One is by trying to avoid them and not think about them, and the other is to accept and embrace them.
Either way, difficulties are simply a part of life and absolutely inescapable by any of us.
So which type of person are you? Avoiding or accepting?

If you avoid dealing with struggles until they drop on you like a ton of bricks, do you find you suffer less or more when this happens?
Bhante brought up a good example by talking about any of us having a hard time falling asleep.
We can either let our mind start racing, adding stories about how tired we will be tomorrow and how much we have to do. Or we can accept that we are not falling asleep and be happy to be awake. Perhaps getting up and accomplishing something! Yay!

There truly is a gift to be found in any difficulties that arise, once we see that there is a lesson and opportunity to be enjoyed. Mindfulness is the key to having Right View with every situation that comes along.

But how easily any of us can take any given situation and start telling a story that would explain why we can NOT just let go of our suffering!
Do you see this is a choice? Can you see that without that story, there is no suffering!

I know that some of you may think this is just a lofty goal to have, and that it’s easier said than done. But I would ask you to try a little test on yourself.
The next time you start feeling upset about something, be aware (mindful) of the story you are beginning to tell in your mind. Then drop it!
Whatever it is, whether it’s someone who cut you off on the road or a friend who spoke unkindly. Any situation at all that aries which starts to cause you even the slightest upset, just drop the story. Accept it, be mindful, and cultivate loving kindness.
I hope you will try this, and then write me a comment to let me know how it worked for you.

And as always, may you be well, happy and peaceful.