My first blog post — here goes:
Not sure about the origin of this quote, if you search around you’ll find a bunch of different attributions. Most of them point to a Buddhist source, which makes sense. But it doesn’t really matter where it came from, what’s important is the essential wisdom of it.
I like to think of it as the foundational “mission statement” for my psychotherapy practice. Whatever psychotherapeutic modality we might employ to alleviate unnecessary suffering — the reason clients come for therapy — the quote holds true.
Due to the fuzziness of the way most of us use the english language, pain and suffering are often used interchangeably. This quote points us to the important distinction between the two.
“Pain is inevtiable” Yes, all human lives will certainly have pain in them. No one gets through this life without experiencing the pain of loss, illness, or injury; but the suffering part? Optional. How so?
It is in our less than skillful relations with pain that we generate unnecessary suffering, which brings us to the parable of the Second Arrow.
(BTW: We’re going to be a little Buddhist heavy out of the box here. Again, this is foundational, all of the modern western psychotherpeutic stuff we’ll be getting to in future posts, will rest comfortably on these concepts.)