Pass the Sukha

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In my conversations with people from all walks of life, I find myself repeating something like this over and over again:

“Your innate nature, when uncontaminated by personal thinking, is clarity, well-being, peace of mind, and intelligent wisdom.  That’s the ‘factory-setting’, the default.  It never really disappears, but it can seem like it’s nowhere to be found when we get caught up in believing our transient thoughts.  When we see through the illusion of these temporary thought-storms, we naturally and effortlessly come back Home, like a beach-ball that bobs back up to the surface of the water.  We’re back in the groove, and in a nice feeling again.  From there, it’s obvious what to do next, if anything actually needs to be done.”  

It’s all true, and it’s amazing how quickly people grasp it.  But it can take a long time to say!

So, I was delighted this morning when my husband Ross alerted me to a very old, and much shorter, way of describing this feeling.

He’s been reading “The Book of Joy” by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Sukha means happiness, ease and well-being. Being comfortable in your own skin.  Able to navigate the inevitable ups and downs of life.

Dukkha means the opposite – it means suffering, stress, anxiety or dissatisfaction.  (Not to be confused with the tasty Egyptian condiment, also called Dukka)

Dukkha means you’re are rejecting and resisting the present moment – you want things to be different than they are.

Both words are said to have originated from the ancient Aryans who brought the Sanskrit language over to India.  These Aryans were a nomadic people who travelled by horse or ox-drawn carts, and the words literally mean having a “good axle” or a “bad axle”.

Is it a smooth ride (Sukha), or a bumpy ride (Dukkha)?

Not a bad metaphor for life.

Everybody goes through times when the road seems very ‘rutted’ and bumpy.

But the truth is that so much of our experience of the ride is created by our thinking.  We can turn any circumstance into heaven or hell in our minds.

Our mind is like the axle.

Pass the Sukha!

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