The Experience of Dukkha

Dear Friends,

The Buddha pointed to an awakening and freedom that arose out of a deep understanding of dukkha – the experience of stress, dissatisfaction, or suffering. Although the experience of dukkha is unpleasant, understanding dukkha is paradoxically liberating. This seems counter intuitive because of our deep conditioning to run from suffering, to resist it, to deny it, and if possible, to distract ourselves with pleasant experience. Unfortunately, reacting to pain with aversion adds suffering on top of the unavoidable unpleasantness in life.

Instead of operating under the influence of fear, we can train the mind to relate with a clear open presence. Is it possible to open to an experience without being confused by it or second guessing it? When we relate in a balanced way to what is, everything changes. So much of the world we inhabit is constructed out of our reactive habits and fixed notions. We think that the pleasantness or unpleasantness of an experience is personal, is it? Mindfulness practice provides an alternative to reactivity. We learn to relate to life in a simple way, “Oh, it is like this now. This is being known. Can this be OK?”

Wishing us all the deepest insight,

Mark Nunberg

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