"Suffering is derived from the Latin word ferre, which means 'to bear' or 'to carry.' Helen Luke, the late Jungian analyst and classics scholar, likens the true meaning of conscious human suffering to a wagon bearing a load. She contrasts this definition of suffering with grief, from the Latin word gravare, which refers to 'the sense of being pressed down,' and affliction, from the Latin word fligere, which means 'to be struck down, as by a blow.' When you deny or resist the experience of your own suffering, you are unwilling to consciously bear it. It is this resistance to accepting your life just as it is that makes suffering ignoble, despicable, and shameful. It is a mistake in perception that can cause you additional suffering. In the First Insight [of the First Noble Truth] the Buddha asks you to carry your suffering without judgment and without resistance in just this manner, to bear it with compassion and mindfulness in your heart. [...] You are able to meet your suffering as though you were a wagon receiving the load placed on it. Paradoxically, the effect is that your load is lightened, and your life can roll forward, whatever its destination. The first insight of the Truth of Dukkha is realized when you are able to distinguish between carrying the weight of your life with all its loss and pain, and collapsing underneath these difficulties. You nobly accept your suffering and acknowledge that your life is being characterized by it, despite your preferences for it to be otherwise."
-- Phillip Moffitt, from Dancing with Life: Buddhist Insights for Finding Meaning and Joy in the Face of Suffering. New York: Rodale, 2008, pp. 36-37.
What are you noticing about how you bear the load in your wagon?
for Mindful Monday
Photo Credit: "Bullock Cart with Wooden Wheels," Dhruvaraj S, 2009.