Fiona: On Seeing Through Suffering

The biggest revelation for me came when I was able to feel emotions and sensations without the words and images attached to them. I’d always taken it for granted that those feelings were the suffering. Stripped of their associations, the layers of meaning, it turned out that even intense emotions were bearable. More than that, they sometimes became pleasurable, or at least neutral. Energy moving through the body, and being felt. Indistinguishable from aliveness, and no longer perceived as negative in any way. I discovered the breathtaking, exquisite beauty in sadness, the innocence of fear, the high of anger, stripped of its connotations.

Going through the inquiry process, over and over again, the underlying belief that there was something wrong with what I was feeling, that sense of I shouldn’t be feeling like this, began to ebb away. Suffering, as Hafiz pointed out, comes not from life itself, but from our quibbling about it. The more we scream This shouldn’t be happening, the more we suffer. By taking a look at each element of our experience, gently, curiously, and with courage, meeting all of it as it is, we untangle the tale of suffering, and the one who suffers is nowhere to be found.

I used to believe that my suffering would end when my feelings and thoughts were somehow magically transmuted into their opposites. It is delightful to discover that the end of suffering lies in those very same feelings and thoughts, exactly as they are. My life continues as it did, my feelings and thoughts come and go as they do, and yet what was once considered suffering is now vital, alive, precious, and very much less serious than it used to seem.

– Fiona R., On Seeing Through Suffering



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