Suffering = Pain x Resistance

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In Self-compassion, Dr. Kristen Neff tells us:

“I once went on a meditation retreat with a wonderful teacher named Shinzen Young, who gave me words of wisdom that I’ll never forget. He said that the key to happiness was understanding that suffering is caused by resisting pain. We can’t avoid pain in life, he said, but we don’t necessarily have to suffer because of that pain… He chose to express these words of wisdom with an equation: ‘Suffering = Pain x Resistance.’ He then added, ‘Actually, it’s an exponential rather than a multiplicative relationship.’ His point was that we can distinguish between the normal pain of life—difficult emotions, physical discomfort, and so on—and actual suffering, which is the mental anguish caused by fighting against the fact that life is sometimes painful.”

In Loving What Is, Byron Katie tells us:

“I realized that it’s insane to oppose it. When I argue with reality, I lose—but only 100% of the time.

Suffering is caused by resisting pain. Yikes! Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

Remember: Suffering = Pain x Resistance. The more resistance and less acceptance the more suffering one is likely to endure. It certainly seems true to me.

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