I love how Ken McLeod describes Dukkha as a struggle because it stops me from spiritually bypassing. While I can attest to having much less struggle in my life from when I first stepped onto the Buddhist path, I can see how I can still struggle. Who wants to admit to suffering? Especially when you are a Buddhist practitioner?
We have to recognize that our suffering is more than just unsatisfactoriness; or sickness, ageing and death, it also encompasses the other places where we struggle in life.
- When I am not seeing things as they really are.
- When I want something to be different.
- When I can not accept reality.
- When I am resisting the truth.
- When I stop listening to my inner wisdom.
Recently while on a solitary retreat, Mara attacked me with every thought. The first dart of pain landed weeks ago. It stung, it hurt. However I struggled with the second dart. This dart came at me filled with venom that assailed my thoughts, contaminating equanimity by fooling me with all the reasons why I was right. Oh there was racism, power over, when it happened in the NOW. And I was caught up in old stories of abuse and, everything from my entire life that had reduced me to a victim.
Then I heard myself say I have been here before. In that moment I could see clearly that all what was happening was me stabbing myself with the second dart in the NOW. I could pull out the second dart.
None of the proliferation of thought had happened in the past. And none of it was happening in the future. It was all happening in the NOW. Memories and pain of racism in my life, as if it were happening right NOW. And all that was happening was a replay of old stories.
When we can see the emptiness in the struggle, we begin to move in the direction towards the end of suffering.
Struggle or NOW, both are painful, however the latter has the possibility to lead us to freedom of the incarceration of the mind.