In No Mud, No Lotus, Thich Nhat Hanh tells us that suffering is a part of life.
You can’t create a beautiful lotus flower without some stinky mud. As he says, lotuses don’t grow in marble. And… You can’t create a happy, flourishing life without some suffering. That’s just how it is. We need to embrace that reality.
In fact, Thay (as he’s known to his students) tells us that a big part of happiness is learning how to “suffer well.” We want to quit making our suffering worse than it needs to be.
To bring the point home, the Buddha shared a story about two arrows. The first arrow strikes you and it hurts. But, if a second arrow hits you in the exact same spot, the pain won’t just double, it’ll go up TEN fold. (Ouch!)
But, here’s the deal. WE are the ones shooting ourselves with that second arrow. How? By complaining about it, wishing it didn’t happen, moping around, etc.
In Self-Compassion, Kristin Neff tells us the same thing in a slightly different way. She tells us that pain is inevitable in life but that suffering is a function of how much we resist that pain.
She shares an equation: Suffering = Pain x Resistance. Pain happens. Our suffering is a function of how much we resist it. Shoot ourselves with that second arrow and suffering goes up exponentially. So, let’s not do that.
Today’s +1. Got any challenges in your life right now?
Are you shooting yourself with a second arrow? If so, stop.
Let’s accept that suffering is a part of life and remember: No mud, no lotus.