Lately I tripped on a new concept that you can choose to experience suffering. My mind is fully in grip of the notion: pain is a physical sensation; suffering is how we ‘choose’ to experience it. Matter of semantics you may argue, but there is strong ground for its relevance for smooth sailing in life.
There will be many moments of unpleasantness in life – due to illness, mishap or other factors over which you have hardly any control. Such incidents create physical affliction and mental agony and as a result, peace of mind is lost. It seems, there is promise of minimizing the impact of such misfortunes and that it ‘can be’ within your control. A great news you may say.
This aspect is illustrated by Saina Nehwal, when she was barely four year old. She had a cut in the finger and her father was appalled to see her bleeding profusely. But the little girl was unperturbed. She bore the pain smilingly. That is: she chose not to suffer. It was natural to her. Such examples may abound. Yet, all do not have such inborn qualities. What makes them different from us? Can we - those lack it - explore how we can cultivate it? Perhaps it can be developed with the help of following tools: this is my way of thinking. You may devise other approaches – if you deem - it’s worth trying for.
Patanjali’s ‘Pratyahara’ is exactly doing this in practice. Pratyahara means withdrawal of senses. You should be in full control of yourself. But, his technique is rigorous – demanding unrelenting practice. That’s bound to be, because his purpose is spiritual salvation – too high for commoners to achieve. My objective is worldly existence – living life well-adjusted with inevitable circumstances we are subjected to. It’s up to you to be interested in spiritual pursuit as well, if liked. For me as a layman, thinking of the possibility alone brings in some rub-off effect in us. You can temper your feelings to certain extent, if not wholly. That dividend itself is of good worth.
The second useful tool could be mindfulness – which is basically being aware of everything you do moment to moment basis. It gives insight to our unconscious thoughts, feelings and behavior that may derail us from the path of desired goal. It’s to view everything objectively – not taking sides as good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant, painful or painless, not liking nor hating – taking things as it is at the moment. It empowers us not to react to any seemingly adverse or provocative situation. You virtually develop a Teflon-coated mind – ensuring you freedom to experience anguish or not. I personally consider it as a potent tool. I think it’s within reach of everybody, provided initial inertia and disbelief are done away with.
Next comes the most significant finding of the 21st century: the quantum mechanics - embracing the entire physical world including our bodies and brains within its ambit. The universe is a great field of energy consisting of subatomic particles called quanta. These particles have dual characteristics: an object and a wave. Wave is frequency or vibration. The universe is practically nothing but vibrations—good, bad, liquid, solid - anything. The quantum becomes solid if you consciously observe it. They claim close connection between mind and brain, impacting entire human behavior. The most astounding concept is that you can choose the right frequency: admittedly very intriguing and mind-blowing. If you consciously think you are well; you can be well indeed. You can choose not to experience suffering. Quantum mechanics merging with mysticism? I couldn’t fully digest it yet.
It will surely add to the quality of life. If interested you can explore further.