Il Diario di Tinton

{2011-09-04}   On Fixing Problems of our Society

When I read, listen or watch the news, a lot of problems are reported. When I hear people suggest how to solve such fundamental problems of the countries we live in, I keep thinking to myself how most solutions miss the root of the problem. So what is the root of the problem?

I shall write about myself and start with the root problem of me: suffering. I want to eliminate it. I strive to be happy, yet often fail to succeed. I suffer when a problem occurs, because I want it to go away. However, were I able to face problems without suffering, dealing with pain and pleasure without suffering, then I would have solved the root problem! From then on, I would be able to face all problems with a calm and balanced mind, without craving for their solution.

This is a very ambitious skill to achieve. However other human beings have achieved it in the past, so I believe I can too. Maybe not soon, however I recognize the value of this skill: even if I don’t reach the final goal any time soon, as I keep working on it, I gradually get better at reducing suffering, hence I improve the life style immediately.

Certainly I shall work on the immediate problem as well. I recognize I cannot only work on reducing suffering. If I am in a jungle starving, I might work on reducing suffering from the pain of hunger, but if I don’t work on finding food, I will soon die. At the same time, if I only work on finding food, then I will always keep on suffering each time I am hungry, and keep on suffering while searching for food. I will live my life suffering. Either one is not an appealing solution. I shall find an equilibrium, such that I can learn how to suffer less while I work on finding food. This way, the next time I will be hungry, I will suffer a tiny bit less. And the time after that, even less. And so slowly but surely I will come out of all miseries.

This is why, when I hear somebody propose a solution that doesn’t also address suffering, I feel like they are missing the point of reducing the suffering. It is not the detailed immediate problem (I.e. No job, health issues, natural disaster,… ) the cause of my suffering: the root lies within me, in my habit pattern of reacting with craving/aversion or clinging to sensations, which by law of nature, are all impermanent. Any solution which does not take also into account the interior personal work of changing this habit pattern, will only lead to more suffering.

Even though i have experienced this on myself, I do believe it is true for all humans. I therefore believe this concept to be part of the introduction chapter of the human being user’s manual and should be explained starting from elementary grades, and repeated throughout the entire education period. A country leader who is not able to see and address this, will, in my opinion, never be able to deeply help a country. Most leaders lead because of the craving for power, the status and the salary. They need help and therefore cannot help others by serving a country.

In some situations, though, some great leaders have done beautiful work and given divine examples. However, this alone was not enough. Gandhi, for instance, spread and showed how it makes sense to fight fire with water, hate with love, violence with peace. He has accomplished such beautiful goals so wholesomely. However, he was not able to leave the people with enough know how to allow them to learn how to live that way on their own. Consequently today, without his leadership anymore, people are not able to follow his example.

May we all learn how to live without suffering!


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