Monday, September 12, 2005

"Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something." -The Princess Bride

Here's something I read today in Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton,

"The truth that many people never understand, until it is too late, is that the more you try to avoid suffering the more you suffer because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you in proportion to your fear of being hurt. The one who does most to avoid suffering is, in the end, the one who suffers most: and his suffering comes to him from things so little and so trivial that one can say that it is no longer objective at all. It is his own existence, his own being, that is at once the subject and the source of his pain, and his very existence and conciousness is his greatest torture. this is another of the great perversions by which the devil uses our philosophies to turn our whole nature inside out, and eviserate all our capacities for good, turning them against ourselves."

I wonder if this is one reason so many of us in privileged, affluent countries suffer from depression, in spite of lives of relative ease, which are often untouched by the kinds of suffering so common to man in previous ages and in other parts of our current world.

I have noticed this in myself before- for one reason or another I seem to think I have a right to a life which doesn't ruffle my feathers too terribly much. I'm soft on myself and indulge myself in little pleasures- the way one might spoil child. What I feel like doing, I do; if I smell suffering down a path I steer clear of it. In the end I don't even know how to answer life's little disturbances or minor annoyances gracefully, anymore. The littlest things irk me.

1 comment:

laura said...

I get irked over the tiniest of things. I wan to live a life that is as comfortable as possible. Yeah, I don't think that's gonna happen...
There's this Buddhist quote that goes: "Surely to live a genuine life there will be suffering."