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Taking Comfort In Suffering

October 5, 2009

A few posts back I mentioned a co-worker that became a teacher. He recently sent me the gift of Netflix free for a month. I love it! I’ve canceled my movie channels and use Netflix and Xbox live for streaming movies along with the famous red envelopes. How does this apply to Precious Metal? I was finally able to see the Meditate & Destroy DVD because Netflix offers it. See Nate’s review by clicking here.

Something Noah pointed out on the DVD is that we take comfort in our suffering. His example was how abused children will cry when they are taken from abusive parents. The child was treated terribly but he finds comfort with his parents, even though they cause him pain. It sounded crazy at first but then I realized I’m living that life right now. No, I’m not abusing a child. I’m taking comfort in my suffering.

How honest do I want to be? I have a bottle of rum, a bottle of sleeping pills (over the counter) and a box of crackers all within eight feet of where I’m sitting. Why does this matter? Because I know I use each of them to avoid reality in one way or another. The rum and sleeping pills I’ll switch between to make my brain shut up so I can sleep. The crackers are food that I’ll use for comfort. Honest enough? I know I don’t need any of these things and I know I’ll feel like crap for using any one of them yet I continue to do so.

So how come I haven’t done something about this? Because I have found comfort in my suffering. There is an issue I’m not dealing with and I’ve used suffering to keep it at bay. The sad part is I’ve been avoiding this issue for so long that I’m not one hundred percent sure what it is. I have some ideas about it but I worry that I might not be able to handle what it is. The worst part? My practice has suffered because of this. I’ve put aside meditation in favor of self medication over the past couple of years. The DVD made this clear to me. I haven’t completely abandoned meditation but I’ve gotten way too casual about it.

I know if I take comfort in my suffering I can avoid this issue. I know if I sit in meditation regularly I will have to confront this issue.

I’m not sure what I’m going to discover about myself but it’s time for a change. If I sleep, I sleep. If I don’t, I don’t. It won’t be because of the rum or pills any more. I’m determined to set aside at least 15 minutes every day to meditate. If I can take time to pour a shot, pop a pill or down a handful of crackers before bed I can re-dedicate that time to meditation. Wish me luck.

What suffering have you found comfort in?

About the DVD. It was nice to see the director using Second Life to tell part of the story. I love seeing people embrace something new. I didn’t like the flashing scenes that are in one part of the DVD. My wife is epileptic and I’ve learned to watch for flashing lights, scenes and colors in life. The thing I loved most about the DVD was that when the credits started to roll I was smiling.

And now to disappoint everybody. Ready? While I’m writing this I’m not listening to punk. I’m listening to Colin Hay’s album Man At Work.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. October 20, 2009 10:18 pm

    Thank you, Tony. (And thank you , Barry for referencing it!) I’ve referenced it on our sangha blog.

    Lynette

  2. October 20, 2009 2:31 pm

    Thanks for the post, Tony. Although I don’t practice, “taking comfort in your suffering” resonates with me as well. Thanks for triggering some well-needed self-examination.

  3. October 19, 2009 10:54 pm

    So your “practice” makes it easier to avoid your issue? OK, good for you, enjoy your suffering, then, I say.
    Men At Work was very cool.

  4. bellemusic permalink
    October 19, 2009 2:26 pm

    I really like this article! It’s great that you can be so honest about your realization. Good luck with everything!

  5. October 6, 2009 5:26 am

    Suffering seems to provide some comfort until a certain point. It is best to address it while one still has the choice. After that things can get really dire in almost exponential ways.

    I have something of a theory in that the suffering we think we are avoiding is merely sluffed off onto others. For example someone who takes drugs (as I used to) is causing at least as much suffering to those around them as they are attempting to escape at the time. And that comes back again in the form of alienation from family and friends. Suffering won’t go away by avoidance. It’s a slippery thing that always crawls back until the light is turned onto it and it is met.

    The thing I have found is that meeting it head on often proves to be a bit of a let down. It is not nearly what I had imagined it to be.

    I wish you well and be patient with yourself also.

  6. barrybriggs permalink
    October 5, 2009 4:15 pm

    Thank you for this important post. I’ll make a reference to it on Ox Herding.

  7. October 5, 2009 11:18 am

    Here’s wishing you luck Tony!

    The exposure to your life you’ve shared with us here is appreciated. I had no idea this was going on, but am glad to know that you are at least aware. I think that’s one of the biggest keys to this practice, having the awareness of the things we do and then the plan to try and change it.

    As you know, I’ve been struggling with my tobacco addiction. I can’t say It’s going perfect, or as planned, but things are working out for the better. I think that’s what we can strive for, and once achieved we can set the next bar and try to match it you know?

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