Student of Suffering

By Anthony Gold

In high school, I didn’t have to study very hard. Academics and I were synergistically aligned.

College was a completely different story. Starting the second semester.

My first semester as an electrical engineering student was pretty much a repeat of high school. Calculus 1. Physics 1. Chemistry 1. All a breeze: A. A. A.

Then my world turned upside down.

All of a sudden the classes got really hard. Even studying didn’t help much. The material itself was very complicated, and no amount of formulaic memorization made matters more serene.

I was struggling.

Had I all of a sudden gotten dumber? While the college experience definitely affected my lifestyle, it certainly didn’t drop my IQ by any impactful amount.

No, what had happened was that I had grown accustomed to not working hard nor being challenged academically. Classes had always come easy, and I hadn’t developed the mental fortitude required for real scholastic growth.

I had been listening to the arrogant voice in my head that said, “You don’t need to work hard; your innate intelligence will always carry you through.”

Poor guidance indeed.

We all have two voices, or teachers, in our mind. One of them constantly informs us that we’re either something special (such as my unhelpful guide) or that we’re something awful. We’re someone that should be respected, admired, and appreciated – or we’re someone that should be rejected and looked down on.

In fact, that teacher often teaches both lessons simultaneously, often switching back and forth between messages.

And it is this teacher that we study under nearly 100% of the time.

This is why our lives often seem like a roller coaster of emotions as the drama of our relationships and our experiences in the world play out over time.

And this is why we’ve all become students of suffering.

But there’s another voice – another guide – that teaches a different lesson. A lesson so different than anything we’ve ever heard before. A lesson so simple, yet so powerful, that it can be hard to believe.

And that lesson is this: the cause of all suffering is in the mind.

Suffering has nothing to do with anything going on in the world or our bodies. Although that is what the first voice teaches us: that all our suffering and happiness come from what it going on in our lives.

But that just isn’t true.

The second teacher is a guide whose only purpose is to lead us to true happiness. When we realize that all suffering comes from a choice in the mind, then we can make a different choice and experience the unconditional joy that we all desire.

The more we practice listening to this truly helpful teacher, the more wonderful we feel. Peace is always the outcome of learning from this teacher.

Each day, in every moment, we can be a student of suffering or a scholar of satisfaction. Pain or joy. Hell or heaven. It all depends upon which voice we choose to listen.

Join me in Monday’s class where we’ll explore why we’re students of suffering and how we can enroll in a different curriculum. I look forward to seeing you then.

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