Suffering = Stuck

Suffering = Stuck

The word the Buddha used for suffering was the Sanskrit word dukkha. While in English we translate it suffering a more accurate definition is discontent, not quite rightness.

The word suffering is quite intense and most people think of it as extreme pain. But originally Buddha was referring to a very subtle and for most of us constant dissatisfaction with what is. I do believe that if we become more sensitive to the subtle undercurrent of the feeling of discontent that is our norm, and learn to release it, that that our progress towards the sense of permanent freedom or peace will be quicker.

But interestingly enough there is another definition of that word dukkha. The word originated long before the Buddha and its original meaning is very interesting. The word originally referred to the axle hole on a horse drawn cart. When the hole was out of true the axle turned with great difficulty or not at all. So dukkha became the term for being out of true which meant unable to move freely or, in a word, stuck!

It is no accident that when Buddha attained his enlightenment and decided to attempt to teach the rest of us, the heavens rejoiced because “the wheel of the Dharma had begun to turn”. The wheel of “the way” was turning true.

In my teaching and coaching the one thing I have noticed above all else is the tendency of us humans to get stuck somewhere. For spiritual people it is stuck in some spiritual principle. For religious people it is stuck in the beliefs of the religion. For non-dualists it is stuck in the absolute. For self-help fans its stuck in the process. For materialists its stuck in attainment and gains. For the intellectual its stuck in some idea. For everyone it is stuck in some point of view that has been deemed “the truth”.

But reality isn’t stuck anywhere. It is constantly flowing. Concepts in the mind are fixed, not reality. The mind takes a snapshot of reality and holds that, believing it now has the “right” picture. Its not an unreasonable point of view since most things change more slowly than we can detect but everything is constantly changing. Without change, life simply ends. Buddha called this impermanence and it is the nature of everything. Suffering comes from wanting things to stay the same when it is their nature to move, including the human being.

This to me, the recognition of impermanence is the essence of the practice of emotional releasing. Letting go of the futile attempt to hold on to something that has already changed in the time you have been looking at it. It is also the essence of resistance. We want things to either remain the same (if you happen to like the way they are right now) or we want them to change into what we want them to be in order to match our fixed picture. The problem isn’t in reality, it is in our picture of it.

Let all of that go! The only thing you are really resisting is not knowing what is going to happen (which you don’t) and as a result, you imagine the worst (worst meaning different from my fixed idea). Diving into that impermanence where you don’t know but are courageous enough to let yourself go there, THAT is freedom.

Freedom is not in the control of things (which, by the way, is not possible). It is in the acceptance of things. Accpt things as they are. And hey, while we’re at it, let’s go beyond mere acceptance and completely embrace it. Since this is the way it is and there is nothing you can do about it,  you might as well dive into it and take a swim, rather than stand on the shore dipping your toe. Dive in.

Find within you the willingness to let go of now in exchange for now. Freedom is not a destination. It is the conscious choice to allow yourself to be moved by life. To go without knowing where you are going or trying to control the destination (which, by now it should be sinking in, you can’t). Any decision to attempt to stay where you are is stuckness and stuck = suffering.

Until you decide to let go of that stuckness, which is nothing more than the picture you have of “how things are (or should be)” you will experience that subtle discontent of not quite rightness. So perhaps now would be a good time to decide, once and for all that you will go wherever life takes you.

And get ready for the ride of your life.

GP’s Coaching Site –


About GP Walsh

GP Walsh is a spiritual teacher, life coach, personal growth facilitator, speaker, author and workshop leader.
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