My trusty on-line Webster’s dictionary gives me the following definitions: I love getting the literal definitions! They help the sorting of my thoughts.
2 a : usu. localized physical suffering associated with bodily disorder (as a disease or an injury); also : a basic bodily sensation induced by a noxious stimulus, received by naked nerve endings, characterized by physical discomfort (as pricking, throbbing, or aching), and typically leading to evasive action
b : acute mental or emotional distress or suffering
1: the state or experience of one that suffers
This leads me to conclude that pain is physical and suffering is emotional. Physical pain has a suffering end date. If you break your leg, or get burned, you feel the physical pain until it is healed. Observe that the definition states “typically leading to evasive action.” Hah! It is wired into our survival brain to avoid pain. It’s what keeps us, if we are not stupid, from dying by things that can be avoided, like fire and knives and falling off things. The story you tell about your injury—what it means, can be permanent. Suffering can go on forever. If we have emotional wounds that are not tended to, we will continue to suffer. Medication may dull the suffering, but it does not heal it. Therapy, rehabilitation of thoughts will.
I’ve come to understand that at the bottom of all suffering is fear. A belief that we need to desperately hang on to what we know or something worse will happen to us. When we face what is causing our suffering, we can learn that on the other side of it is genuine joy and happiness.
I am finding at the bottom of a lot of my anger is fear of being wrong. I am holding onto my self-justification because if I admit I am wrong, then…what? I don’t know..I’ll have to change; see things differently; behave differently. And this could lead to, who knows where? Freedom? Joy? Happiness?
I’ll let you know.