“Without suffering and doubts, the mind will come to rest on clichés and stay there, until the spirit dies as well. You must continually start over and challenge yourself.” ~ Robert Greene, Mastery
The following is an excerpt from The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. It recounts the life and story of Buddha and how he went from being a young, spoiled child—who had essentially everything (and anything) he could have ever wished for—to the sage that we remember him as today who practiced severe asceticism before his enlightenment.
The suffering that the Buddha endured formulated the foundation for the teachings and philosophies on which Buddhism was later founded and the story of the Buddha shares a deep insight about how happiness is not the absence of suffering but rather a dance with suffering and non-ascetic, middle way living.
Below, you will find the story of Buddha as it was shared in The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. While you read, we strongly encourage you to reflect on your beliefs of suffering and happiness and challenge you to take notes (real or mental) on areas of your life that might need some attention or reevaluation.
Some questions to consider: Are you pursuing happiness or happy in your pursuits? Are you waiting for a criteria to be met before you feel that you can be happy? Is meeting that criteria really going to make you happy or will it just lead to more criteria? If you’re feeling moved, drop some of your thoughts in the comment section below! We hope this helps and we hope you find value in this story. Enjoy!
“The person you marry is the person you fight with. The house you buy is the house you repair. The dream job you take is the job you stress over. Everything comes with an inherent sacrifice—whatever makes us feel good will also inevitably make us feel bad. What we gain is also what we lose. What creates our positive experiences will define our negative experiences. This is a difficult pill to swallow. We like the idea that there’s some form of ultimate happiness that can be attained. We like the idea that we can alleviate all of our suffering permanently. We like the idea that we can feel fulfilled and satisfied with our lives forever. But we cannot.” ~ Mark Mason, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
“Everything worthwhile in life is won through surmounting the associated negative experience. Any attempt to escape the negative, to avoid it or quash it or silence it, only backfires. The avoidance of suffering is a form of suffering. The avoidance of struggle is a struggle. The denial of failure is a failure. Hiding what is shameful is itself a form of shame.” ~ Mark Mason, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
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“I am not looking to escape my darkness, I am learning to love myself there.” ~ Rune Lazuli
Solutions to universal challenges we all face as humans.
In the rush of modern life, we tend to lose touch with the peace that is available in each moment. World-renowned Zen master, spiritual leader, and author Thich Nhat Hanh shows us how to make positive use of the very situations that usually pressure and antagonize us. In his book, Peace is Every Step, Thich Nhat Hanh discusses solutions and action steps to universal challenges and issues that we face as humans. These challenges and issues include: overcoming anxiety, fear, and depression and how to feel more fulfilled, calm, and happy in the present moment; understanding anger and learning how to live in a more compassionate, blissful state; and bringing peace to both our inner and outer worlds with every step we take in life.
One of the fundamental lessons that Thich Nhat Hanh communicates in his book is that any large scale change – on a community or global level – must (and always) starts with the individual. Peace work is not a means, Nhat Hanh reminds us, it is the way. In the forward to the book, the Dalai Lama introduces this point and discusses the importance of becoming a more compassionate, mindful, and peaceful person and the ripples that our actions have on the larger scale. He says: Continue reading
“We have to continue to practice mindfulness and reconciliation until we can see a child’s body of skin and bones in Uganda or Ethiopia as our own, until the hunger and pain in the bodies of all species are our own. Then we will have realized nondiscrimination, real love. Then we can look at all beings with the eyes of compassion, and we can do the real work to help alleviate suffering.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step
“The source of love is deep in us, and we can help others realize a lot of happiness. One word, one action, or one thought can reduce another person’s suffering and bring him joy. One word can give comfort and confidence, destroy doubt, help someone avoid a mistake, reconcile a conflict, or open the door to liberation. One action can save a person’s life or help him take advantage of a rare opportunity. One thought can do the same, because thoughts always lead to words and actions. If love is in our heart, every thought, word, and deed can bring about a miracle.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step
“When you understand, you cannot help but love. You cannot get angry. To develop understanding, you have to practice looking at all loving beings with the eyes of compassion. When you understand, you cannot help but love. And when you love, you naturally act in a way that can relieve the suffering of people.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step
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Quote in action: Suppose your son wakes up one morning and sees that it is already quite late. He decides to wake up his younger sister, to give her enough time to eat breakfast before going to school. It happens that she is grouchy and instead of saying, “Thank you for waking me up,” she says, “Shut up! Leave me alone!” and kicks him. He will probably get angry, thinking, “I woke her up nicely. Why did she kick me?” He may want to go to the kitchen and tell you about it, or even kick her back. But then he remembers that during the night his sister coughed a lot, and he realizes that she must be sick. Maybe she behaved so meanly because she has a cold. At that moment, he understands, and he is not angry at all anymore.
Comment: Have you ever had a moment of understanding that dissolved all of your anger towards another person?
Emotional poison is created by our reaction to what we consider injustice. Some wounds will heal, others will become infected with more and more poison. Once we are full of emotional poison, we have the need to release it, and we practice releasing the poison by sending it to someone else. How do we do this? By hooking that person’s attention.
Let’s take an example of an ordinary couple. For whatever reason, the wife is mad. She has a lot of emotional poison from an injustice that comes from her husband. The husband is not home, but she remembers that injustice and the poison is growing inside. When the husband comes home, the first thing she wants to do is hook his attention because once she hooks his attention, all the poison can go to her husband and she can feel the relief. As soon as she tells him how bad he is, how stupid or unfair he is, that poison she has inside her is transferred to the husband.