The 5 Truths That Enable Freedom From Suffering

October 7, 2019

by Darren Cockburn


Wouldn’t it be great if we knew how to gain freedom from suffering? The good news is that I’m sharing how we can do just that through discovering five truths…

Firstly, when I say ‘suffering’, I’m referring to psychological suffering – not the pain we experience in our bodies. Psychological suffering is generated through thoughts.


Truth #1

Because we have the power to influence our thoughts,
we have the power to reduce or remove our suffering


Truth #2

We suffer when we’re in resistance to our experience in a given moment

Something happens that our ego thinks shouldn’t happen. We then resist the experience and temporarily escape from it by getting lost in our thoughts.


Truth #3

Resistance is the trigger for becoming lost in our thoughts

Being lost in thought is a form of dreaming which causes suffering. And most of us regularly believe things should be different to how they actually are. Crazy, isn’t it? An example might be when we’re out walking without a coat or umbrella and it starts to rain. We might believe that it shouldn’t be raining. Another example, is that we lose something, and believe that we shouldn’t have lost it. Notice the words ‘should’ and ‘shouldn’t’ here, which are negatively judging how things are in reality.


Truth #4

Resistance is always caused by our attachments

This is related to one of the central teachings of Buddhism. In the first example I provided, somebody may be attached to their hair looking a certain way, which changes when it’s saturated by the rain – then they suffer. In the second example, somebody may have been attached to the item they’d lost.

All of our attachments at any given point in time form our ego. This is why it’s always the ego that triggers the suffering. We can be attached to all sorts of things, including possessions, knowledge, roles, likes, dislikes, creations, opinions, resentments, appearances, beliefs, positive or negative comparisons, addictions, attachments from the past or fantasies about the future.

So how do we solve this problem of suffering? In two ways… Firstly, we don’t get attached to stuff! Generally speaking, the mind only creates attachments when we’re lost in thought – it doesn’t do this when we’re mindful. The second way is to gain freedom from being impacted by any attachments we’ve already created – we do this through being mindful. Then we can think creatively and accept our experience rather than being at the mercy of the attachments and the conditioned mind.


Truth #5

The antidote to suffering is mindfulness

Cultivating and practising mindfulness through meditation and within our everyday activities reduces and ultimately removes suffering. The primary reason for this is that mindfulness enables awareness. Awareness of what’s external to us, our bodily sensations, feelings and thoughts. And it’s this awareness that empowers us with choice and creativity. This means we can make positive choices about our thoughts, communication and actions which brings us back to the first truth.

In more complex scenarios, it may be necessary to think through our problems and re-wire ourselves psychologically. We might need a therapist to help us do this. But even in these cases we will only fix our problems through being mindful.


So, here’s a quick recap of the five truths:

Because we have the power to influence our thoughts we have the power to reduce or remove our suffering
We suffer when we’re in resistance to our experience in a given moment
Resistance is the trigger for becoming lost in our thoughts
Resistance is always caused by our attachments
The antidote to suffering is mindfulness!


About the author

Darren Cockburn is the founder of mindfulness online training. He’s passionate about guiding people to live in the present moment and cultivate a peaceful mind – through writing, the media, coaching, training and music. He was nominated for Kindred Spirit’s 2019 Emerging Voices Award and is the author of two mindfulness books published by Findhorn Press & Inner Traditions. Darren also provides local mindfulness training in Bournemouth, UK.


More from this author:
Forgive & Be Mindful

Posted by: Leah Russell


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