In Buddha’s first teaching, he said:

You should know true suffering

Buddha kindly shared these words to five practitioners at the Deer Park in Sarnath, Northern India. It is helpful to reflect why he chose these words. He was touching reality with his mind when he engaged in Meditation and realised that to be happy we firstly need to understand why we are not, and recognise the nature of our momentary experience. Wherever we go, whatever we do, whoever we are with, suffering is inevitable.

What isn’t inevitable is the mental sway when challenges arise, and circumstances change. One minute elated the next despondent. One week excited, the next depressed.

If we can see through the desire to be excited, and the mind that confuses this with the bliss we seek, we can start to be at ease.

Although it doesn’t seem like it at the time, when we follow excitement, we experience suffering. We lick the honey on a razor blade. Soon enough we get caught and cut. When we cut, the mind depresses. We can see different levels of this process playing out in all of our lives everyday.

Not succumbing to excitement may be deemed as miserable. Are you not excited? You can’t be much fun at parties! Even though it appears our world is externally progressing, why are depression levels increasing. The indication of a society genuinely developing, would be the well being of individuals progressively increasing. Where does much of the depression in our lives come from, what is its cause? Previous excitement.

We get excited about a new job, even to the point of jumping around unable to contain ourself. Initially, we are delighted with the upgraded status and salary. Slowly cracks appear, and we can start to feel miserable. Spending much of our free time looking for another job, as our current position doesn’t fulfil us anymore. In reality, it never did. The excitement in our mind fooled us into thinking the job had the power to make us happy. If the job made us happy, the more we stayed there, the happier we would become. The initial excitement made our mind out of balance, setting up the stage for the second act of disappointment. We can apply the same reasoning to relationships, which we will discuss later in the text.

Excitement does not make the mind at ease. Excitement equals excitement. A sense of ease, and the peace and fulfilment that come from this experience, arises from a mental equilibrium.

A superficial reading of Buddha’s first teaching and the above explanation, which is what it will be if we’re in a rush and don’t Meditate, will lead to an effortless misunderstanding. We’ll conclude it means we need to be like a stone, have no emotion or enjoyment in our life. It will be a great shame if we make this conclusion.

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