Dr David Dybdal, Boston Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist

David Dybdal, MD, PhD

Compassionate, Effective Psychotherapy and Medication Management

 My Blo‚Äčg


Pain and Suffering

Posted on 11 December, 2020 at 11:20

Pain is inevitable, Suffering is optional.

With patience, pain begins to take on a certain quality of brightness. One must cultivate a wholesome relationship with pain to experience profound, unadorned beauty.

Suffering is a cage that we fashion from our very own brains and bones.

Dogs don't suffer.

Infants don't suffer.

Yet with just a touch of development, the human brain creates a vision of a past and future which can seem more compelling than the current moment. It is here that we may create and observe an illusion of a life that has, and always will be painful.

We desperately want to escape from it, yet we can't stop staring at it. We can't stop thinking about it. We can't stop trying to push it away. We can't stop trying to figure a way out. We can't stop worrying. We find it nearly impossible to stop feeding into the cycle of our own suffering, for what we resist persists.

Suffering can be an addiction. We may believe it gives us some degree of control over our pain. We may try to push our pain away. We may try to nurture it, adding wood and carefully tending to its flames. We may reactively hurt ourselves or others to escape it. We may reactively seek to help others to escape it. In these actions, it seems, one way or another, we only create more suffering.

Indeed, many of us have matured to this point of trapping ourselves, but not far enough to reliably know how to let go and once again find our freedom.

Collectively speaking, our sapient species may evolve to find this freedom, or it may not; only time will tell.

As for me, in this moment, I am more or less content, as I know I will always have the eternal now in which I may rest and rejuvinate. In other words, I am practicing an acceptance of the reflections of the external world on my inner experience (a sort of death) so that those reflections take their rightful place within me, and with that comes the momentary gift of freedom....A freedom to be more fully alive...

Sometime, likely soon , I will inevitably experience a forgetting of this pattern, and I will find myself suffering again....yet, even then, deep down, I am beginning to trust that I will sense, and on some level, even know that I can, and inevitably will, return to the eternal now, which is waiting patiently for me, always.

- David Dybdal


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