For many people, the Pali word “dukkha” simply means suffering. But I have learned that this is in fact somewhat inaccurate. Dukkha is better described as unsatisfactory conditions. One example could be that your car payment is past due. This is an unsatisfactory condition, and will likely result in mental suffering for you.
But what if you could forever be free of dukkha? No more unsatisfactoriness!
Is this possible, does it require super-human skills and abilities?
I say no.
All of us have a choice within each moment and every experience of our lives. We either choose to accept it and be at peace, or we create suffering in our minds. Even physical pain is subject to this causation. If you fall and break your ankle, your mind can see this as just a physical sensation- or, the mind can run wild with fear and dozens of other emotions.
If our mind is able to see this simply for what it is, as a physical sensation, then the mind is still free to be peaceful and accepting.
I can personally testify to this being an attainable reality, as I have experienced several situations that could have easily drawn me into an unsatisfactory state. But instead, I made no story and just observed with loving kindness and acceptance. No attachment, no clinging, no aversion.
Now this is not to imply that I am able to be so skillful and wise every moment of every day. I catch myself many times each day beginning to develop a story, and inadvertently grab a handful of dukkha. But thankfully, my practice continues to decrease the frequency to which this happens. And with determination and practice, I hope one day to be completely dukkha free.
There are not answers for everything, nor solutions for every problem. But seeing the impermanence of all things should be a clear enough signal for all of us to let go. We only have this breath. Choose to spend it wisely and lovingly in the service of others. Be kind and compassionate towards yourself and your body.
Make each breath count by filling it with goodness and joy, befriending yourself and your neighbor.
See each other clearly and with equanimity, free of judgement, dogmas, expectation or prejudice.
And in this very moment, be aware that there is no dukkha.
May you be well, happy and peaceful.