Understanding Suffering

July 9th ~ Why am I or why are you callous to another man’s suffering?  Why are we indifferent to the coolie who is carrying a heavy load, to the woman who is carrying a baby?  Why are we so callous?  To understand that, we must understand why suffering makes us dull.  Surely, it is suffering that makes us callous, because we don’t understand suffering, we become indifferent to it.  If I understand suffering, then I become sensitive to suffering, awake to everything, not only to myself, but to the people about me, to my wife, to my children, to an animal, to a beggar.  But we don’t want to understand suffering, and the escape from suffering makes us dull, and therefore we are callous.  Sir, the point is that suffering, when not understood, dulls the mind and heart, and we do not understand suffering because we want to escape from it, through the guru, through a savior, through mantras, through reincarnation, through ideas, through drink and every other kind of addiction–anything to escape what is . . . . 

Now, the understanding of suffering does not lie in finding out what the cause is.  Any man can know the cause of suffering; his own thoughtlessness, his stupidity, his narrowness, his brutality, and so on.  But if I look at the suffering itself without wanting an answer, then what happens?  Then, as I am not escaping, I begin to understand suffering; my mind is watchfully alert, keen, which means I become sensitive, and being sensitive, I am aware of other people’s suffering.

December 30th, 2019 ~ This reminds me of the story Steve Hagen talks about in one of his books.  It is about the man who is shot with an arrow.  We are obsessed with the arrow and who shot the arrow and why.  Rather than looking and dealing with the wound itself.

I know in the past, when I suffered, one of the things I noticed was how I held on to my suffering.  I wanted to know more about it so it wouldn’t happen again.  The wanting to know more about it is admirable, but if we hold onto it, it can’t grow and die away.  Like Krishnamurti says in “What is Guilt?”, if we tug at the roots of a flower, it can’t grow and wither away. 

The idea of not being sensitive to other people’s suffering is a real one.  Is it like a woman giving birth and forgets how painful it is.  Otherwise, why would she want to have another child and go through all that discomfort?  Has she become dull to the pain?  The difference might be that the woman’s pain is physical.  Our suffering is psychological.  Again, Krishnamurti in “What is Guilt?” says that if the pain is acute, we can’t stay with it.  But if it isn’t acute, we can stay with it.


As in most posts on Zentrepreneurial.com, italicization of words refers to the words of either Jiddu Krishnamurti or Albert Low.  The website writer’s words are in regular text.

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