All of life is suffering, said the great Buddha in his teachings. All of life is pain. There is freedom from pain and suffering, he offered, and that is enlightenment. Dukkha is the pali word for suffering and translates directly to suffering. Suffering isn’t always pain, however. Dukkha can mean a variety of emotional states and the suffering which comes from them.
“Dukkha refers to the psychological experience- sometimes conscious, sometimes not conscious- of the profound fact that everything is impermanent, ungraspable, and not really knowable” writes author Norman Fischer in Suffering Opens the Real Path. Fischer explains that we all know on some level that we are suffering. We know at our core the true nature of things, but we try to know something else. As a result we live in samsara, the cycle of existence and suffering we face when we tightly hold onto everything which is passing and impermanent- like our addictions.
Our phases of intoxication are impermanent. Only addicts and alcoholics know the true depth of this. We suffer in angst as we await the next time we are to be intoxicated. Even when we are relishing the euphoric effects of our drugs of choice, we subtly suffer, anticipating the moment when the euphoria ends. As we enter a stage of detox and withdrawal we suffer even more. We cannot hold onto the high and we cannot bear the come down. The cycle is relentless.
To anyone who has not suffered from addiction to drugs and alcohol, the cycle seems silly and self-imposed. Why would anyone choose to do that to themselves? Yet as human beings we are all prone to various “addictions” which keep us in the same cycle. We hold onto hopes that are unrealistic, pleasures which are passing, and expectations which only lead to disappointments. Why would we choose to do that? It is not until we become aware of the fact that we are choosing our suffering that we can find enlightenment and release from our suffering.
Through treatment and therapy we start the path to enlightenment by releasing our addictions to drugs and alcohol. Evolving on the course of our journey we confront other addictions in our life like our addiction to thoughts, feelings, actions, beliefs, and behaviors. We realize that our addictions were merely one manifestation of our suffering, one dukkha in our life of samsara but that enlightenment is possible in all of these areas. We slowly detach and find our way to healing, each moment of liberation a living nirvana.
Enlightened Solutions offers a clinical, holistic and 12-step approach to the road to recovery. If you’re struggling with addiction and/or mental illness, our program is specialized in dual-diagnosis treatments. Don’t hesitate and call today: 844-234-LIVE.
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