On suffering


“When you suffer, you seek remedies, palliatives, escapes, gurus, which dissipate your inquiry into suffering. When you are worried – when you are suffering, your instinct is to run away from it, to take flight from it, to seek a verbal explanation or any other means to get away from it. Whereas, if you observe suffering without escaping, without condemning it, which is extremely arduous, then you will find that it begins to tell you extraordinary things, it begins to reveal untold treasures.

So, your difficulty is not that you don’t suffer, but that you dissipate your energies in trying to overcome suffering. What is overcome has to be overcome again and again, and therefore you go on suffering.

Suffering does not lead to intelligence when you try to overcome it. Whereas, if you begin to understand it, then it leads you to intelligence. And if you examine it yourself, you will see that when there is suffering, you want a hand to hold you, a guru to tell you what to do; or you turn on the radio, you escape to the cinema or the racecourse, or you do innumerable things – you pray, you do puja to get away from the suffering, from the actual throbbing pain.

These are all means of dissipating your energies. But if you don’t do any of them, what happens? There is suffering, and the paralysis of that suffering. Then, in the silence of that suffering, when the mind is no longer escaping – you are living with suffering, you are not condemning it, you are not identifying yourself with it – it begins to reveal its causes. You have not searched out its causes, to search out the cause of suffering is another form of escape. Whereas, if you are simply aware of suffering without condemnation, the cause of that suffering is revealed. Then suffering begins to unfold its story, chapter by chapter, and you see all the implications. And the more you read the book of suffering, the greater the wisdom.

When you escape from suffering, you are really escaping from wisdom. Wisdom can be found in any sorrow; you don’t have to have great crises. Wisdom is there for him who seeks, who does not shun, who does not escape, who does not take flight, but who is passively, alertly aware of what is. In that alert, passive awareness, the full meaning of what is, is understood. When it is understood, truth comes into being; and it is truth that frees one from sorrow.  Iit is truth that gives bliss, it is truth that gives freedom; and in that state, sorrow is completely dissolved.”

J. Krishnamurti